David Cameron promised 'political system people can trust' 12 years ago today
BBC

Yes, it was exactly 12 years ago today that David Cameron stood outside the black door of 10 Downing Street and confirmed he would lead a coalition government.

After the general election of 2010 resulted in a hung parliament, with no political party bagging an overall majority, his Conservative Party joined forces with Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats to run the country together.

Addressing the media on 11 May that year, Mr Cameron said: “I want to help try and build a more responsible society here in Britain - one where we don't just ask what are my entitlements, but what are my responsibilities.

“And a guide for that society - that those that can should [give], and those who can't we will always help.

“I want us to build an economy that rewards work. I want us to build a society with stronger families and stronger communities, and I want a political system that people can trust and look up to once again.”

Ah, yeah… about that, Dave…

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A devastating pandemic under Boris Johnson’s government has resulted in more than 176,000 deaths, with 60 per cent of Covid deaths between January and November 2020 being of disabled people – many of whom can’t necessarily work due to the nature of their health conditions.

Doesn’t really sound like “help”, that, does it?

Then there’s the small matter of Mr Cameron’s pledge to work towards “a political system that people can trust and look up to once again”.

Mate, we’ve been looking down at our political system for so many years now our neck hurts.

In 2016, Mr Johnson was one of the Vote Leave backers in the European Union referendum who parroted the false statistic – one which was emblazoned on a big red bus – that the EU takes £350 million a week from us which we could spend on the NHS instead.

A reminder: this figure doesn’t include the rebate or ‘discount’ which is applied to the £350 million sum before it’s sent to the EU. According to fact-checkers FullFact, the figure was actually around £250 million a week.

So bad was Mr Johnson’s use of the flawed stat that the UK Statistics Authority wrote to the then-foreign secretary to say the figure “confuses gross and net contributions” and is “a clear misuse of official statistics”. This was a further comment made by the organisation after it called out the inaccuracy in May 2016.

In that same campaign, Mr Johnson co-signed a letter stating “the only way to avoid having common borders with Turkey is to vote Leave and take back control”, only for him to later claim “I didn’t say anything about Turkey” during the referendum.

When the Conservative MP who once made up a quote in a newspaper became prime minister in 2019, he sought to end parliament early or ‘prorogue’ proceedings on the apparent need to prepare for a Queen’s Speech.

At the time, political opponents claimed the proroguing of parliament until 14 October, just days before a Brexit deadline of 31 October, was a sneaky attempt to avoid parliamentary scrutiny of his plans to leave the bloc.

And in September 2019, the Supreme Court ruled: “The prime minister’s advice to Her Majesty [to prorogue] was unlawful, void and of no effect.”

Mr Johnson apologised to the Queen for the blunder, but denied claims he had lied to the monarch.

In that same month, he was challenged by a member of the public in a hospital for using the visit “for a press opportunity”, as cameras and reporters surrounded him.

“There’s no press here,” Mr Johnson claimed.

In the 2019 general election campaign, he claimed the Tories would build 40 new hospitals, but that was debunked by fact-checkers too.

We’d go on and list a few other inaccuracies made by Mr Johnson, but we’ll spare you the frustration and share a video by filmmaker Peter Stefanovic shutting down multiple false claims by the Conservative leader.

There’s also a whole website dedicated to other questionable statements by the PM, too.

But perhaps the worst example of a comment by Boris Johnson which was later completely undermined, was one about parties in Downing Street during the coronavirus lockdown in 2020.

“All guidance was followed completely in No 10,” he told Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer on 1 December 2021.

Yet just last month, Mr Johnson confirmed he had received a fixed penalty notice from the Metropolitan Police for breaking the laws he himself created, which prompted Ian Blackford of the Scottish National Party to refer to 1 December as evidence the PM “lied”.

He told the Commons last month: “Last December, the Prime Minister came to this House and denied that there were any parties in 10 Downing Street during the long Covid lockdowns.

“But now we know the truth – and that truth contains no ifs, no buts and no maybes. The House was misled and so were the public – and we were all misled deliberately.

“Not only were parties happening, not only was the law broken, the Prime Minister was at the very parties he directly denied had even happened.

“The truth is simple and it’s this: he lied to avoid getting caught and once he got caught, he lied again. There is no other way to describe it. There is no other word for it.”

So bad was the contradiction between Mr Johnson’s comments of 1 December and his eventual fine, that MPs backed a motion to see him investigated by the Privileges Committee, which would decide if he deliberately misled parliament.

So in short, Dave, you can rest easy: trust in the UK government has never been greater!

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