Boris Johnson lies about saying historic child abuse probe cash is ‘spaffed up the wall’
PUBLISHED: 17:07 13 September 2019 | UPDATED: 17:09 13 September 2019
The prime minister has denied ever saying that money spent on historic child abuse investigations is “spaffed up the wall”, to the disbelief of an assembled press corps in Rotherham.
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A reporter reminded Boris Johnson of the infamous statement, which the prime minister had made in an interview on LBC earlier this year, and asked if he still felt the money was wasted.
Rotherham was at the centre of a large-scale organised child grooming scandal dating from more than ten years ago, which has resulted in dozens of arrests and which raised investigations into police handling of the initial reports from victims.
But Johnson denied he had ever dismissed the gravity of the issue with that phrase.
"Well, that's actually, not what I said," said the prime minister to the Rotherham Advertiser's reporter.
But the footage, which is readily available on YouTube, shows the opposite.
In the interview on LBC in March, Johnson had been trying to deny that there was a connection between the swingeing police budget cuts made by the austerity government, and a rise in crime.
"I think that ... keeping numbers high on the streets is certainly important," he had said to host Nick Ferrari, saying that it was a question of allocation.
He continued: "And one comment I would make is I think an awful lot of money and an awful lot of police time goes into these historic offences, and all this malarkey and you know - £60 million that's always being spaffed up the wall on, you know, on some investigation into historic child abuse and all this kind of thing. I mean what on earth is that going to do to protect the public now?"
He went on to claim that the people want to see police on the streets "doing what they signed up to do".
Attempting to clarify his comments in the Rotherham press conference, the prime minister said he thinks "all such investigations" are "extremely important". "But the point I was making is that we do need to be backing our police to be fighting crime," he said. "And that's why we're investing in 20,000 police out on the streets and putting about £1 billion more into policing."
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