From Daily Mirror: The Tories made a promise to save free TV licences for pensioners which was impossible for the government to deliver, a minister has admitted.
From Momentum: Video evidence that Theresa May lied on LBC radio about her past “crying wolf” dismissal of the impact of Tory police cuts.
Brexit: Minister claims 80% of public support May’s deal then immediately apologises for making up statistic
From The Independent: Government minister Rory Stewart has been forced into an immediate apology after making up a statistic in defence of Theresa May’s draft Brexit agreement.
From Daily Mirror: Theresa May’s claim to be “ending austerity” was blown apart today in a damning expert verdict on the 2018 Budget.
From The Independent: A leading economist has accused Theresa May of “lying” during Prime Minister’s Questions, claiming she deliberately misquoted him.
From Daily Mirror: Theresa May’s boast that she has ended austerity is a sham, experts have warned.
Tory Matt Hancock boasts he’s had ‘no letters’ about Universal Credit – just 3 days after mum’s e-mail
From Daily Mirror: A Tory minister who boasted he’s had “no letters at all” about Universal Credit was sent an e-mail about it by a desperate single mum just three days ago.
Treasury minister Liz Truss falsely claims government is not making cuts to councils, in BBC Newsnight interview
From The Independent: Treasury minister Liz Truss has falsely claimed that local councils are not facing cuts.
From Channel 4 News Fact Check: Boris Johnson wrote: “If a country cannot pass a law to save the lives of female cyclists — when that proposal is supported at every level of UK Government — then I don’t see how that country can truly be called independent.”
The problem is, Mr Johnson is wrong.
From The Guardian: Esther McVey, the work and pensions secretary, has been forced to apologise to parliament after making misleading statements about the government’s faltering welfare changes.
The MP for Tatton’s statement followed the release of a damning letter from Sir Amyas Morse, who told the minister she had misinterpreted a report by the National Audit Office on Universal Credit to make it look as if the new welfare system was working well.
McVey should not have claimed universal credit was being rolled out too slowly when the NAO had said the DWP should ensure it was working properly before transferring any more people on to it from previous benefits, she was told.
She should not have said universal credit was working when the report said this was not proven, Morse said. She should not have claimed that the report had not taken into account recent improvements in welfare, when it was signed off days earlier by her department, he added.
From the Guardian: Amber Rudd’s insistence that she knew nothing of Home Office targets for immigration removals risks unravelling following the leak of a secret internal document prepared for her and other senior ministers.
The six-page memo, passed to the Guardian, says the department has set “a target of achieving 12,800 enforced returns in 2017-18” and boasts that “we have exceeded our target of assisted returns”.
The document was prepared by Hugh Ind, the director general of the Home Office’s Immigration Enforcement agency, in June last year and copied to Rudd and Brandon Lewis, the then immigration minister, as well as several senior civil servants and special advisers.
The leak will raise questions about Rudd’s public position on what she knew about the setting of targets for the enforced removal of migrants.
The issue has become particularly toxic because of coverage of the Windrush generation – many of whom have been made destitute, homeless and denied benefits and healthcare because of the Home Office’s “hostile environment” policy towards those it deems to be lacking appropriate documentation to be in the UK.
From The Independent: Conservative cabinet minister Sajid Javid is facing calls to apologise after describing Jeremy Corbyn-supporting campaign group Momentum as “neo-fascist”. Momentum has threatened the cabinet minister with legal action if he repeats the comment outside Parliament.
Tory Transport Secretary Chris Grayling accused of ‘lying’ over decision to scrap rail electrification plans
From the Yorkshire Post: Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has been accused of “lying” over his controversial decision not to proceed with three major rail electrification projects following an investigation into the cancellation. The National Audit Office (NAO) said Chris Grayling had explained that the projects in England and Wales would not go ahead because it was no longer necessary to electrify every line to deliver passenger benefits.
He said passenger journeys on the Great Western Main Line in South Wales, the Midland Main Line and on the Lakes Line between Windermere and Oxenholme could be improved sooner than expected by using “state of the art trains”, including bi-mode trains which can transfer from diesel to electric power without passengers being aware of the switch. But the NAO said the main reason for the cancellation was financial. Its report said: “While the availability of alternative means of delivering passenger benefits was important, the major reason for cancellation was affordability.
Theresa May slapped down by statistics watchdog over ‘incorrect’ claim of extra £450m for local police forces
From the Daily Mirror: The statistics watchdog has rapped the prime minister over the ‘incorrect’ claim that the there is extra £450m of funding for local police forces in 2018/19.
From the New Statesman: Edwardian vampire prince of Brexiteers Jacob Rees-Mogg took a break from his permanent residence at the BBC to do a slot on Channel 4 discussing the Irish border issue.
During a live interview with presenter Jon Snow, Rees-Mogg asserted that Jeremy Corbyn voted against the Good Friday agreement, saying: “I’m unaware of any Brexiteer who is in favour of abandoning the Good Friday Agreement – it was Jeremy Corbyn, incidentally, who voted against the Good Friday Agreement when it came to Parliament.”
Channel 4 News later made what it admitted was a “mangled” correction, and clarified that Corbyn did vote for the Good Friday Agreement.
Rees-Mogg also apologised – partly in Latin, but your mole supposes it still counts. “Mea culpa,” the Tory MP tweeted. “I was wrong to say that Mr Corbyn voted against the Good Friday Agreement. He did not.”
From Richard Burgon MP: Ben Bradley’s apology…
From LabourList: Today Andrew Neil used Tory MP Steve Baker’s spot on the BBC’s Daily Politics to slam the claims of Conservative MPs that Jeremy Corbyn “sold British secrets” and “betrayed his country”.
Following the Sun‘s “Commie Corbyn” story, which claimed the Labour leader met with a communist spy in the 1980s and suggested he briefed them on British politics and matters of state security, defence secretary Gavin Williamson said Corbyn “cannot be trusted” and accused him of “betrayal of this country”.
Neil repeatedly asked Steve Baker, “do you think he has betrayed his country?” Steve Baker repeatedly refused to answer the question.
Tory vice-chair Ben Bradley was forced to delete his tweet stating “Corbyn sold British secrets to communist spies” after the leader of the opposition threatened legal action. On Twitter security minister Ben Wallace compared Corbyn to Soviet spy Kim Philby.
“Your security minister has compared Mr Corbyn to Kim Philby. Kim Philby was a traitor – at the time if he’d been found guilty he would have been hanged! That’s an outrageous smear to say of the leader of the opposition,” said Neil.
He concluded: “The real scandal, Mr Baker, isn’t what Mr Corbyn has supposedly done or not done. It’s the outright lies and disinformation that your fellow Tories are spreading.”