As MPs returned to Parliament after the summer break, they were greeted by the sight of a newly installed gold statue of former prime minister Winston Churchill looking over the entrance of the House of Commons. We take a look at five of Boris Johnson’s most memorable quotes from his first week in office.
One of the biggest criticisms of politicians is that they are often prone to making false claims and inaccurate statements. Prime Minister’s Questions is the weekly opportunity for the MP’s to question the Prime Minister and the Government. In the session on September 11th Boris Johnson claimed that he would ban the burqa and the niqab.
From Reality Check
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Premier’s Questions led to a heated exchange of words on Wednesday, when Boris Johnson and Labour leader Keir Starmer clashed over – among other things – controversial housing repairs in Downing Street.
The Prime Minister insists he personally paid for the work at 11 Downing Street (where he lives), but has not said whether anyone else funded it.
The Electoral Commission has announced an investigation because there are reasonable grounds to believe that one or more offences have been committed.
We have looked at some of the statements made in Parliament:
Boris Johnson: I don’t want to spend taxpayers’ money like the last Labour government, which spent £500,000 of taxpayers’ money on a flat inDowning Street.
Annual expenditure figures are included in the parliamentary response to the Cabinet Secretary.
The £500,000 figure was calculated by taking into account inflation (i.e. price rises) and adding up all expenditure during the Labour Government’s period from 1997 to 2010.
If the actual amount spent is taken into account to reflect the annual allocation of £30,000, there have been several years where expenditure has exceeded this amount.
But the total expenditure over 13 years was £370,000, or just under £30,000 a year.
As we do not yet have the figures for 2020-21, we do not know whether Mr Johnson has taken the full £30,000 contribution from public funds to renovate the Downing Street flat.
Boris Johnson: Last night our friends in the European Union voted for our Brexit deal, which he [Keir Starmer] rejected.
If the Prime Minister is referring to the vote in the House of Commons following the agreement, this assertion is false.
The Labour leader voted for the Settlements Bill, as did the vast majority of Labour MPs.
Mr. Starmer stated that a lighter agreement is better than no agreement. He criticized several aspects of the agreement.
The vote took place on November 30 and was supported by the House of Commons by 521 votes to 73 following the recall of Parliament.
Boris Johnson: When it comes to misleading Parliament, he [Keir Starmer] said he didn’t mind if our country withdrew from the European Medicines Agency, which he then had to give up.
The Prime Minister was referring to an exchange of views in February – over the introduction of vaccines in the UK – when he said the Labour leader supported the idea of the UK remaining part of the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
This is the EU body that evaluates new medicines and approves the use of vaccines. At the time, Mr. Starmer vehemently denied this assertion.
But, as we noted in February, he twice made the case for staying in the MEA in 2017, in the context of the then ongoing Brexit debate.
Mr Starmer then admitted that he had been wrong to describe the Prime Minister’s statement as absurd and admitted that he had previously spoken in favour of the EMA.
Boris Johnson: We have 50% of the population, and 25% of the adult population received two doses [of the vaccine]
More than 33.8 million people in the UK have received their first dose of the vaccine, government figures released on 27 January show. April. That’s really half the population.
And on Tuesday, the Department of Health said more than a quarter of adults in the UK – 13.2 million people – had received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Therefore, these figures are correct.
Boris Johnson: The Conservative government built 244,000 homes last year, the highest number in 30 years.
The latest figure for the number of homes built in England was 148,620 for the whole of 2020.
The figure of 244,000 is the number of additional net homes in England between April 2019 and March 2020.
This is a record of the last 30 years.
But it’s not just about new dwellings – the definition of additional dwelling is very broad and includes new dwellings, plus additions or losses due to conversions, changes of use and demolition, and even some caravans and boats.
It should also be noted that very little new housing is built by the public sector – 82% is built by private companies, 17% by housing associations and 1% by local authorities.
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