Rishi Sunak Left Red-Faced After Wrongly Claiming Record Numbers Are In Work

The prime minister was forced to correct the record following the embarrassing gaffe.
Rishi Sunak leaves 10 Downing Street to take part in prime minister's questions.
Rishi Sunak leaves 10 Downing Street to take part in prime minister's questions.
DANIEL LEAL via Getty Images

Rishi Sunak has been forced issue a correction after wrongly claiming that there are “record numbers” of people in work.

In echoes of Boris Johnson, he made the gaffe at last week’s prime minister’s questions.

But at PMQs today, Labour MP Stephen Timms pointed out that the PM had been out by more than 100,000.

He said: “At question time last week, the prime minister referred to record numbers of people in work.

“In fact, as he knows, the number of people in work at the moment is still less than it was just before the pandemic - 122,792 less according to the latest official figures.

“Will he reassure the House that he’s not not slipping into the bad ways of his predecessor but one and will he properly correct the incorrect statement he made last week?”

Admitting his embarrassing error, Sunak said: “The clarification has already been made, but there are near record numbers of people in work and in payroll and that is thanks to the actions of this government.”

It comes just a month after the PM was rapped for falsely claiming the asylum backlog had halved under the Tories.

He told parliament on December 13 last year that the backlog of unresolved cases was “half the size that it was when Labour was in office”.

But according to Home Office figures, the number of undecided asylum applications was 166,261 at the end of 2022, compared to 18,954 when Labour left office in 2010.

Sunak’s employment claims were similar to previous gaffes made by Johnson when he was prime minister.

Last April, he managed to exaggerate the number of people in work by a million.

It was not not the first time Johnson has been caught out bending the truth about the number of people in work.

The UK Statistics Authority has previously berated the then prime minister for wrongly claiming employment levels were higher than before Covid.


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