Tory minister 'lied' on live TV by claiming 127,000 people have been tested for coronavirus

Tory minister 'lied' on live TV by claiming 127,000 people have been tested for coronavirus

The government's messaging around testing has been spotty, to say the least.

After setting a target of testing 100,000 people every day by the end of April, the government has faced a lot of criticism over whether people are actually being tested in as many numbers as they claim, particularly considering that the numbers of people being tested dropped back down in May.

On Question Time last week, Stephen Barclay, an MP and former Brexit Secretary, said that 127,000 people had been tested on the day that he was on TV. Fiona Bruce then double-checked the figure with him on live TV before she pointed out that even the government's own figures said 71,600 people were actually tested that day.

Bruce said, “That’s quite a big number to get wrong.”

After Bruce pushed him to clarify about people being tested, he nodded and the conversation moved on to another panellist.

On social media, people asked whether Barclay was underprepared, or if he was actually lying.

Others pointed out that Diane Abbott had received racist and sexist abuse after mixing up numbers on a BBC radio show, but that this incident barely made headlines.

Other people pointed out that Matt Hancock made a similar claim on Twitter hours before – which may be where Barclay got the figure from – but that it directly contradicted the government's own account of the numbers.

This week,The Telegraph reported that some tests are being double-counted, which inflated the figures. The issue here seems to have been confusing the number of tests carried out with the number of people tested.

Still, not a great look.

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