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To Lie and Lie Again

I said I’d love FactCheck. Talk about multiple lies from the Labour party:

I notice that the Conservatives are offering £50 a week to help with childcare. A couple of months ago they were getting headlines for offering £150 a week, so there has already been a huge cut in the help they are offering families for childcare

So said Patricia Hewitt on Breakfast. The only problem being that the Conservatives never promised £150 in the first place. So does our Trade and Industry Secretary walk off with her tail between her legs. Erm, not exactly…

In November, the Tory offer was £150 a week to mothers to stay at home. Today we learn that the Tories have backtracked on this and will only offer £50 a week. It is clear the Tories cannot afford the £150 a week because of their commitment to cut £35bn from public spending

That was Alan “I’ll do anything to win” Milburn, writing in The Grauniad. As much as Labour would like it otherwise, repeating a lie does not suddenly make it true. But you’ve got to give them credit for perseverence:

At a press conference after her BBC appearance on Easter Monday, Ms Hewitt was challenged about the claim by a journalist who accused her of mixing up maternity pay and childcare allowances. The female reporter said: “You have said the Tories have obviously cut their pledge on childcare. They have not. That is a cheap shot as far as I can see.”

But Ms Hewitt refused to admit she was wrong.

She said: “If you go back to the headlines at the time of the Conservative briefing a couple of months ago, what you will see is very clear headlines, that they persuaded people to write, saying £150 a week for childcare – that has now come down to £50 a week for childcare.”

But, you see, FactCheck did go back to the headlines at the time of the Conservative briefing:

FactCheck went back to the press cuttings relating to the Tory proposals in November and the coverage made it very clear the £150 payment related to maternity pay and not help with childcare costs.

So she’s trying to weasel her way out of blatant lying by – erm – lying some more. Go Pat!

The official party response to this much-repeated lie?

We would accept that after they [the Conservatives] had done their press conference that particular claim is not something that we are going to continue to make. We will not continue to make that claim

So they’re not going to admit they were wrong, nor apologise for lying. But then, what more could we expect from Labour?

This post was filed under: Election 2005.

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