Boris Johnson: a John Prescott moment?

As you might have heard, Boris Johnson has called Ken Livingstone a “f***ing liar” for claiming that he, too, dodges tax in the way that Ken has. The exchange happened in a lift after a mayoral candidate debate at the studios of LBC. The excitement of various lefties on Twitter has been touching to see – I know their guy needs a break – but in fact, this could do Boris no more harm than John Prescott’s famous punch did him. If the subjects of Ken’s truthfulness and Ken’s tax affairs are placed centre stage, it can only end one way for Livingstone.

Here, just to put the exchange in perspective, are the seven lies that Ken told in that one-hour LBC debate alone.

Claim: “It is nonsense to say that crime’s coming down. Everywhere you go, crimes are up here, there and everywhere.”

Reality: Crime has fallen by around 11 per cent in the last four years. It has fallen by 1.8 per cent in the last year.

Claim: The latest Met figures show the force has “31,128 police officers,” less than when Livingstone left office.

Reality: The Met states that it has “more than 32,500 officers,” several hundred more than when Livingstone left office.

Claim: Asked if his City Hall had paid £6,500 of public money to Jan Woolf, the undeclared mother of one of his secret children, Livingstone replied: “No.”

Reality: The GLA documents showing the payment to Ms Woolf’s personal company, Rootball Productions, are here.

Claim: “I went in to the [2004] election saying I will increase the congestion charge.”

Reality: Mr Livingstone’s 2004 manifesto made no mention of increasing the charge. Nor did he mention it at any point during the campaign. He had previously said that the charge would remain at £5 until at least 2013. Instead, shortly after being re-elected, he raised it by 60% – to £8.

Claim: “The average Londoner in zone 2 will save £1000 [from his fares plans over four years], and in zone 6 £1700.”

Reality: The average Londoner will save £150 over four years, or 72p a week, if the promise is delivered.

Claim: Ken stated that he “introduced” the Freedom Pass.

Reality: Free London-wide bus travel for pensioners was introduced in 1973, eight years before Livingstone became GLC leader. The Tories extended the concession to the Tube (with a 20p flat fare) in 1977. The pass was renamed the “Freedom Pass” by the London boroughs in the 1990s.

Claim: “The fact is Boris and myself are in exactly the same position [on tax avoidance]. We both had media earnings. We both put them through a company.”

Reality: Boris channelled no earnings through any company and did not avoid income tax on any of his earnings, as he has himself said and as is shown here.

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