Lying and liars are killing our democracy: help to make it stop

Make lying in the House of Commons a criminal offence

“The Government should introduce legislation to make lying in the House of Commons a criminal offence. This would mean that all MPs, including Ministers, would face a serious penalty for knowingly making false statements in the House of Commons, as is the case in a court of law.”

This was the wording of a petition to government started four months ago by Ronald Tocknell and which now has more than 131,000 plus signatures.

The government responded once it went through the ‘magic’ 10,000 mark, obliging the government to say something:

“The Government does not intend to introduce legislation of this nature. MPs must abide by the Code of Conduct and conduct in the Chamber is a matter for the Speaker.”

It is an important principle of the UK Parliament that Members of Parliament are accountable to those who elect them. It is absolutely right that all MPs are fully accountable to their constituents for what they say and do and this is ultimately reflected at the ballot box.

In short, if their constituents are fans of the lies being spun, then that’s fine. And if they aren’t, they can show it by voting the liars out.

So Johnson and others can lie as much as they choose if it pleases their fanbase. There is no sanction.

The petition is now through the crucial 100,000 mark which means it should be scheduled for debate. Everyone is still waiting…

Meanwhile, the speaker , Sir Lindsay Hoyle, appears more concerned with the dress code than the ministerial code. Rose-tinted spectacles are evidently a compulsory feature of his wardrobe, along with ear plugs.

What is his mantra? Wearing a tie? Feel free to lie!

More than 34 million people have watched Peter Stefanovic’s video cataloguing just a few of Johnson’s egregious untruths:

The same video has been shared more extensively by foreign media than our own and God forbid the BBC should ever show it! They’ve blacklisted Peter. That’s how they treat the truth.

You may remember that Labour MP Dawn Butler was summarily dismissed from the chamber for telling the truth and calling Johnson out for the liar that he is…and everyone knows him to be. What message does that send our children? What message does that send the world?

And this is not a party political thing. This is an issue which should matter to all of us, whatever our political loyalties or leanings. Here is former Conservative MP Rory Stewart on Johnson:

“Perhaps the best liar ever to serve as prime minister. He has mastered the use of error, omission, exaggeration, diminution, equivocation and flat denial. He has perfected casuistry, circumlocution, false equivalence and false analogy. He is equally adept at the ironic jest, the fib and the grand lie; the weasel word and half-truth; the hyperbolic lie, the obvious lie and the bullshit lie.” Stewart added that Johnson made a virtue of this reputation after beating him in the Tory leadership contest. “Rory,” he said, “don’t believe anything I am about to say.”

It is beginning to look as if, finally, people have had enough. Re-enter Dawn Butler. She has tabled an Early Day Motion to stop Johnson lying in Parliament:

If lying and broken promises pain you as much as they do us, if you think they cannot be allowed to go unchecked and unpunished until the next election (and maybe not even then), if you believe that they damage democracy and undermine the nation’s standing in the world then here’s how you can help.

Write to your MP and ask them to back Ms Butler’s bill – especially if they are Conservatives, for their own good as much as anything else. It may seem fine to have a team captain who ‘wins’ by cheating and lying and making a joke of doing so all the while, but it isn’t. It really isn’t. The ‘victories’ are ugly, empty and will, ultimately, be reversed.

Many will shrug and say that this is just how politics are. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Who says we have to have liars and corrupt politicians? The men and women are our servants, our representatives. Are we saying that this is who we are?

It doesn’t matter if your MP doesn’t seem to care or won’t bother to respond. Please contact them nonetheless. Mailbags actually do count for something and Johnson’s lying has to be stopped. We can all help. At the very least we can say that we tried.