The Daily Telegraph has issued the third correction to a Boris Johnson column this year after the paper’s former star writer made a false claim about the UK economy.
Johnson, who gave up the column when he became prime minister in July, wrote a month earlier that the country was forecast to become the largest and most prosperous economy in “this hemisphere”, and would overtake Germany in terms of growth.
But the Telegraph admitted on Saturday that the claim, based on an OECD forecast of UK and German GDP from 2020-2060, related to Europe and not the northern hemisphere.
The data did not predict that the UK’s GDP would surpass Germany’s to become the largest in Europe, the newspaper also said, adding: “This was the columnist’s own extrapolation of this data beyond the time-frame of the forecast.”
The correction was issued following a ruling by the Independent Press Standards Organisation, the Telegraph said, and followed two other complaints relating to separate columns penned by the former journalist being upheld.
In April, the Telegraph admitted that “no poll clearly showed” that no-deal Brexit was the most popular option among the British public despite Johnson’s claim. But it added the piece “was clearly comically polemical, and could not be reasonably read as a serious, empirical, in-depth analysis of hard factual matters”.
Meanwhile, the paper in July retracted part of a claim about a convicted drug dealer as Johnson railed against the UKs “cockeyed crook-coddling criminal justice system”.
Johnson was being paid £275,000-a-year for the column. An analysis by HuffPost UK suggested he had earned at least £2.7 million for columns in the newspaper during his time as an elected politician.