Boris Johnson makes entire cabinet recite debunked campaign lies about the NHS in unison

Ministers parrot misleading claims about new hospitals and nurses at PM's request

'How many new hospitals are we going to build?' Boris Johnson makes his new cabinet recite campaign promises

Boris Johnson made his ministers repeat campaign lies about the NHS in unison during his first cabinet meeting since the election.

In a call-and-response exchange that resembled a school teacher addressing his pupils, Mr Johnson repeated widely debunked claims made by the Conservative Party about investment in the health service.

“How many new hospitals are we going to build?” the prime minister asked his cabinet.

“40!” they replied, ignoring the fact the government has only put in place funding for building projects at six hospitals by 2025.

Matt Hancock, the health secretary, admitted in September that the other 34 projects, which are expected by 2030, have only been promised £100m of “seed funding” so far.

The £2.7bn allocated for the six hospital projects will fund extensions to existing buildings, as well as new buildings on separate sites.

Mr Johnson went on to ask his cabinet about another misleading campaign promise on nursing numbers.

“How many more nurses are we going to hire?” he asked to replies of “50,000” from his ministers, despite Mr Johnson publicly admitting that the figure was inaccurate during the election campaign.

Earlier this month, Mr Johnson admitted on Sky News only 31,000 of the 50,000 “more” nurses pledged would be new recruits.

The Tories' election pledge includes an estimated 18,500 existing nurses who will be encouraged to remain in the NHS, or attracted back after leaving.

“When you’re talking about delivering more nurses, most people would not accept that people who are already working in the NHS are new nurses,” Sky News’ Sophie Ridge told Mr Johnson.

The Conservative election campaign was defined by accusations of fake news and misleading information, particularly on social media.

In November, Full Fact criticised the Tories for an “inappropriate and misleading” rebrand of a party Twitter account as a fake “fact-checking” service during a televised debate between Mr Johnson and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Research by First Draft, an organisation that tracks disinformation, also found about 88 per cent of the most widely circulated online Tory ads during the first four days of December were misleading.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in