Ken Livingstone: I have never told a lie

Quote of the year from Ken comes in tomorrow’s New Statesman, when the Greatest Living Londoner avers:  “I think I have gone through my entire public career never telling a lie. I have made mistakes but I never knowingly lied.” As one editor I worked for used to say, faced with a particularly preposterous statement by a public figure: “This one I frame.”

I know Ken’s a keen reader of this blog – he even mentions it in his memoirs – so I’m sure he’ll have noticed my recent “truth audit” which found that he or his official campaign materials, for which he is responsible, told at least 12 direct lies in the month of January alone. Six of those lies came from Ken’s own lips.

In a single BBC appearance during the last election, Ken said 36 things that were untrue in the course of a 35-minute interview.

You might also care to read this piece I did in 2008 summarising some of his most egregious departures from the straight and narrow (including a claim that London kids were safer under him than they had been since the 1950s, and a fierce, but alas totally false, denial that he had a secret son.)

That doesn’t include countless other examples of personal dodginess which don’t amount to lying – such as repeatedly breaking promises, or condemning Boris Johnson for saying the same things as you’ve said yourself in the past.

As a newspaper reporter I am of course accountable to the PCC and the law of libel. Calling someone a liar when they are not is plainly defamatory – but Ken has never complained to the PCC or taken libel action against me. It is in fact Ken who has at least once been forced to pay libel damages and apologise for lying about someone else.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s