As Conservative spin doctors tried to put a positive gloss on their underwhelming manifesto launch yesterday, the UK media headlines remained focused on the Greensill lobbying scandal involving former Tory Prime Minister David Cameron, the undeclared financial interests of English Health Secretary Matt Hancock and the repeated lying of Boris Johnson to Parliament.
Six parties at Westminster have now called for an inquiry into PM Bojo’s “consistent failure to be honest” in statements to MPs. The Prime Minister’s lies to Westminster have already been highlighted in a viral video by the campaigner Peter Stefanovic which has been watched 11.4 million times.
Examples of Johnson giving misleading information to the Commons include: saying the economy grew by 73 per cent under the Conservatives, when the figure covered the period since 1990 (including when Labour was in office); saying CO2 emissions had been cut by 42 per cent since 2010, when the real figure was by 38 per cent since 1990; saying a nurses’ bursary in England had been restored, when the replacement arrangement is less generous; falsely saying the number of families living in poverty had been cut by 400,000 since 2010; falsely saying Bridgend was going to be a battery manufacturing centre; and saying Covid-related contracts had been published when they had not.
Even Boris Johnson’s closest colleagues say he has a problem with the truth. The former political editor of the Spectator, Peter Oborne, worked closely with Johnson when he was its editor. Oborne says he has never come across a senior UK politician “who lies and fabricates so regularly, so shamelessly and so systematically as… Johnson”.
The Tories, who earned a reputation for sleaze under Prime Minister John Major and were described as the ‘nasty party” by Prime Minister Theresa May, are now becoming known as the party of cronyism and lying under Boris Johnson.
What is truly astonishing is that voters in England don’t seem to care. According to the most recent polls, the Tories have a solid and growing lead over Labour.
At least in Scotland, the Tories are not faring well under the gaze of publicity. With a faltering campaign for the Scottish Parliament, they are now in a tussle with Labour for second place.
Their leader Douglas Ross has been eclipsed by Ruth Davidson who is giving up Holyrood for the House of Lords but is better trusted by the Tories to front their campaign.
Douglas Ross is facing growing evidence of nasty prejudice against travelling people. He’s already had to apologise for saying that his number one priority as prime minister would be "tougher enforcement against Gypsy travellers”.
Now it turns out that he used his previous position as a local councillor to object to travellers because their camp was “very visible” and that “this wouldn’t be tolerated with any other ethnic minority”.
Scottish Tories haven’t won a national election in Scotland since 1955 and for good reason. When it comes to sleaze, cronyism, and nastiness, they’re in a league of their own. When voters cast their ballots in the Scottish Parliament elections, I fully expect the Tories to lose seats and deservedly so.