PLAID Cymru’s Westminster leader, Liz Saville Roberts, is reviving attempts to make it a criminal offence for politicians to lie to the public. 

The idea gained widespread coverage during the 2019 UK general election and Ms Saville Roberts has highlighted concerns that the public has been mislead over the issue of parties and events held at Downing Street during lockdown or periods of Covid restrictions. 

The Dwyfor Meirionnydd MP said: “The prime minister has been allowed to lie his way through life, making fools of us all in the process.

"But when the lies are so blatant, the statements so hypocritical, and the pain and loss of Covid lockdowns still so visceral, the public are right to demand Boris Johnson be held to account. 

“Our proposal would bring the rules that already regulate business into politics.” 

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The Plaid MP has tabled an Early Day Motion in Parliament calling for the introduction of a new law to “strengthen the ability of Parliament and the public to hold politicians to account for deliberate lying and misrepresentation”. 

The motion says time should be found for a debate on introducing such a law, and it also condemns social gatherings at Downing Street during Covid-19 lockdown periods, a “lack of transparency from the Government" and a "reluctance to disclose attendance”. 

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The EDM, which has been signed by all Plaid’s MPs, as well as members from Labour, the SNP, Caroline Lucas from the Green Party and Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey, has been proposed following work between Plaid and the think-tank Compassion in Politics. 

It was also behind the 2019 proposals that deliberately misleading the public should be a criminal offence carrying a jail term. 

Since then Parliamentary rules which prevent MPs from accusing others of lying have also been in the spotlight, after Labour MP Dawn Butler was thrown out of a July 2021 Parliamentary sitting because she refused to withdraw accusations that Boris Johnson is a liar. 

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Ms Saville Roberts said the proposed law would require that public statements made by politicians are, to “the best of their knowledge, factual and accurate”. 

It would also create an “independent mechanism” to challenge and hold to account those suspected of lying. 

Matt Hawkins, director of Compassion in Politics said: “Recent revelations point towards a real sickness at the heart of our politics. For the sake of our democracy and the people it is meant to serve, we need urgent action to clean-up, reform, and substantially improve the standards, values, and ethics of our political system.” 

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