Peter Stefanovic: 'I simply will not stand by and allow lying in our politics to become normalised'

Peter Stefanovic: 'I simply will not stand by and allow lying in our politics to become normalised'
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When lawyer and filmmaker Peter Stefanovic posted a two-minute video in August 2020, debunking a number of spurious statements Boris Johnson has made to parliament, it caused a stir.

In his own words, the video "was reported as far away as New Zealand, raised with Ministers on Sky, shown and debated on ITV and even projected onto the Houses of Parliament by Led By Donkeys.

"It sparked questions in Parliament (actually led to one Labour MP - Dawn Butler being expelled by the speaker after directly quoting from it and calling the prime minister a liar) and has inspired a coalition of opposition party leaders to take action."

It is not the only video he has made to hold the government to account. Stefanovic has alleged that Johnson was telling “barefaced lies” and “talking complete bollocks” by implying that a recent boost in the living wage will support those facing cuts to universal credit.

As for the PM's defence about why he attended that infamous May 2020 BYOB garden party in Downing Street (it was a "work event" if you don't remember)- that is also "complete bollocks".

All his videos rack up millions of views when he shares them on Twitter and are plugged by the likes of Susanna Reid on Good Morning Britain.

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So what motivates him?

Stefanovic says that if political institutions "are undermined by lies and false statements our very democracy is put at risk" and that he thinks this is what "we are witnessing under Johnson’s premiership."

But it is more personal than that. "I recall how stoically honest my late parents were," he says.

"They would never have lied to or deceived anyone. I believe the overwhelming majority of people in this country are honest and would feel the same way. Why then should we expect less from our elected politicians?

"I simply will not stand by and allow lying in our politics to become normalised. That is my motivation," he says.

So to stop "lying in our politics" becoming normalised, Stefanovic must firstly scour the Commons and broadcast clips for politician's "lies".

If he spots one it prompts him to make a video, he says. "If they lie or deliberately mislead I will be there with my next film ready to expose them. My videos are about truth - it’s that simple."

Next, he fact checks the claims using a range of sources like the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Office For National Statistics, Office for Budget Responsibility, Full Fact, C4 Fact Check and organisations like Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Resolution Foundation.

"Then I go in front of the camera to report it," he says.

"The goal is to present the facts and truth of the matter in the simplest but most engaging way possible. A bit of editing then takes place and and the whole process - start to finish - will usually take two to three hours."

Once edited, they are posted online and available for the world to judge. "People can then make up their own minds in a more informed way," he says.

"I simply want to communicate the facts and the truth of the matter - that's it."

With all that going on, Stefanovic has certainly been keeping himself busy and indeed he says he has been working a seven day week for "as long as I can remember". He's even just launched a YouTube channel to further boost his content too.

But as for whether he would consider running for parliament himself: "ask me that in 2024" he teases.

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