‘Demonstrably untrue! Boris Johnson slaps down John Major speech in Sky News spat

Boris Johnson in heated exchange with Rigby over John Major

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has clashed with Sky News political editor Beth Rigby during a heated exchange over remarks made by former PM John Major. Mr Major said in a speech on Thursday that the UK’s international reputation had been “shredded” by Mr Johnson’s behaviour but Mr Johnson struck back on Sky News saying the remarks were “demonstrably untrue.”

Ms Rigby told the Prime Minister: “John Major, he said that you have shredded diplomacy.”

“That is demonstrably untrue,” replied Ms Johnson.

“He said our reputation has been shredded by what’s been going on in Number 10, internationally,” pressed the Sky News presenter. 

“He said that you broke lockdown laws dreamt up raising excuses, and he says it was always the case that a PM that breaks the law should resign. That’s a former prime minister.”

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Mr Johnson went on to highlight the international role the UK was playing in bolstering NATO in response to Russian threats in eastern Europe.

He said: “I’m gonna have plenty to say about all that in due course but if you look at what the UK is doing to bring the world together, if you talk to our friends in Lithuania, in Ukraine, where I was the other week or here today in Poland, you can see that actually, it is the United Kingdom that has been working for months to warn people about what was happening.

“I’m afraid we’ve been sadly proved right in what we were saying. It’s been the United Kingdom that has been working to bring countries together, not just in the sanctions package that we want to see the very tough sanctions package and we want to see.

“But also in making sure that we fortify a NATO’s Eastern frontier in the way that we’re doing.”

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It comes after Sir John delivered a speech at the Institute for Government on Thursday, called “In democracy we trust.”

During the address, Sir John said: “The loss of public trust can be swift and unforgiving.

“We have seen that playing out in recent weeks, trust in politics is at a low ebb, eroded by foolish behaviour and leaving a sense of unease about the way in which our politics is conducted.

“Too often, ministers have been evasive and the truth has seemed to be optional.

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“When ministers respond to legitimate questions from the public, from inquisitors, from the media, with pre-prepared sound bites or half-truths or misdirection or wild exaggeration then respect for government and politics dies just a little more.”

He continued: “Politicians are not all the same and lies are just not acceptable – to imply otherwise is to cheapen public life and slander the vast majority of elected politicians who do not knowingly mislead.

“But some do mislead and their behaviour is corrosive, it tarnishes both politics and the reputation of Parliament.

“It is a dangerous trend.”

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