General Election: Boris Johnson and Tories must stick to the truth – leader comment

‘Misleading and unfair’ Tory election video – edited to falsely show Keir Starmer unable to answer a question – and Boris Johnson’s bogus claims about Jeremy Corbyn – saying he “sided” with Vladimir Putin over the Salisbury poisonings and comparing the Labour leader to Stalin – represent a new low.

Boris Johnson was sacked twice for dishonesty before becoming Prime Minister (Picture: Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images)

According to a new poll averaging the results of nine others, the Conservatives are heading for a majority of 100 seats in the House of Commons.

And it’s not hard to see why. Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit policy – to negotiate a new deal with the EU, then put it to the people in a referendum and stay neutral – is a joke, a ridiculous fudge on the issue the general election will be decided upon.

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In Scotland, this sense of not quite knowing what they actually want to happen has been exacerbated by mixed messages on indyref2.

So it is all the more surprising that Boris Johnson and his party have decided to fight in an utterly unacceptable way. According to the Prime Minister, Corbyn “sided with Putin” over the deadly Salisbury poisoning attack by Russian agents.

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The Labour leader may have been slow to blame the Kremlin, but his initial call for “incontrovertible evidence” of its guilt – in the face of overwhelming evidence – simply does not equate with supporting the actions of the war-mongering despot in Moscow.

Corbyn is no Stalin

The Associated Press, America’s main news wire service, is famed for its accuracy and has become attuned to spotting false claims under President Donald Trump. Its report of the campaign launch said Johnson’s remarks were inaccurate and erroneous.

Johnson also said Corbyn was demonising billionaires with a “relish and a vindictiveness” not seen since “Stalin persecuted the kulaks”.

The Scotsman has also criticised Labour’s attacks on the “few” but Stalin was a mass murderer and the kulaks were among his victims. Corbyn is no Stalin and the comparison is beyond hyperbole.

On top of that, a Tory campaign video showed Labour’s Brexit spokesman Sir Keir Starmer apparently struck dumb in a TV interview when asked a question about Brexit.

The problem is that, in reality, he answered the question as interviewer Piers Morgan pointed out, saying the edited video was “misleading and unfair” to Starmer.

Asked on the BBC whether the video was “a lie”, Tory party chairman James Cleverly said “I disagree with your assessment”, claiming it was “light-hearted”.

In this age of fake news, there is nothing remotely funny about spinning the truth beyond its breaking point or, in the minds of some, lying.

If this is how far politicians will go when they appear to be romping to victory, heaven help us all in the event of the race becoming close.