Kwasi Kwarteng: Boris Johnson Was Right To Claim Crime Is Falling When It's Actually Going Up

The Business Secretary said voters don't think fraud counts towards the official statistics
Kwasi Kwarteng
Kwasi Kwarteng

Kwasi Kwarteng has been mocked after he claimed Boris Johnson was right to tell MPs that crime is falling even though it is actually going up.

The Business Secretary defended the prime minister for ignoring the rise in fraud cases when he made the inaccurate claim in the Commons.

Johnson said crime had fallen by 14 per cent under his government.

But according to the UK Statistics Authority, once fraud and computer misuse are included, the crime rate has actually gone up by 14 per cent.

Challenged on the PM’s untrue claims on the BBC’s Sunday Morning show, Kwarteng said: “I don’t know why you say it isn’t true. I don’t know what the evidence is for it not being true.

“All I know is that certainly on the doorstep people are saying that there is progress being made.”

Presented with figures showing fraud is on the rise, the minister said: “When people talk about crime - I think fraud is really important - but people are talking particularly about burglaries, about personal injury, about physical crimes, and I think in that context we’re seeing lower crimes. I think the prime minister was right.

“He was talking about personal injury and crime in relation to individuals.

“The point the prime minister was making in terms of the crime people experience in their day-to-day lives, in terms of burglary - not fraud - but in terms of physical injury, has gone down, that’s absolutely right.”

The minister was roundly mocked on Twitter for his bizarre defence of the PM.

Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesperson, Alistair Carmichael, said: “The failure of Conservative ministers to stand up to Boris Johnson’s dishonesty and lack of decency is doing huge damage to public trust. Instead of apologising for misleading the public over rising crime, Kwasi Kwarteng doubled down on this blatant lie.

“This is an insult to every victim of fraud crime. Instead of fighting their corner, this government is ignoring the plight of all those who have been cruelly robbed in their own homes and on their own devices.

“Given the prime minister is being investigated by the police about alleged crimes committed in Downing Street, it’s perhaps not surprising he and his ministers are lying about crime falling across the country.”

Earlier on Sky News, Kwarteng had reignited the Cabinet split over the Jimmy Savile row by insisting it had been “entirely legitimate” for the prime minister to wrongly accuse Keir Starmer of letting Jimmy Savile escape justice when he was Director of Public Prosecutions.

The Business Secretary’s support for the PM over the row puts him at odds with Cabinet colleagues Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid, both of whom have distanced themselves from the remarks.

Kwarteng said: “It was perfectly reasonable to mention the fact Sir Keir apologised on behalf of the organisation he led about the fact they failed to prosecute Jimmy Savile. So the fact he apologised suggests he does at some level bear some responsibility.”


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