FACT CHECK: Did Boris Johnson Make This Disparaging Comment About Scotland In 2019?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook attributes to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson a disparaging comment about Scotland that he allegedly made while giving a speech to the 1922 Committee in 2019.

Verdict: False

The quote originated in a satirical article. There is no record of him saying the statement featured in the post.

Fact Check:

The image credits Johnson with making a lengthy disparaging comment about Scotland and its residents during a June 2019 speech to the 1922 Committee, a group comprised of conservative members of Parliament’s House of Commons. Johnson became the U.K.’s prime minister in July 2019.

“We’ve been siphoning off all of their oil underneath their drink-sodden Scottish noses for 30 years without them noticing,” Johnson allegedly said. “And even when they did find out they still voted to stay in our ‘1707 paper political’ Union… …We could turn Loch Lomond into a sewage facility and clear the Highlands again and they’d still want to keep hold of our coat-tails.”

The “1707 paper political” union mentioned in the post appears to be a reference to the 1707 Act of Union, which unified England and Scotland under the name of Great Britain, according to Britannica.com. The clearance of the Scottish Highlands refers to the forced eviction of tenant farmers to make way for sheep farming that took place from the late 1700s to the late 1800s. (RELATED: Does This Photo Show Boris Johnson With Ghislaine Maxwell?)

While Johnson has faced criticism for comments about Scotland in the past, there is no evidence of Johnson saying the quote attributed to him in the Facebook post. A search of transcripts of Johnson’s public remarks, as well as his social media accounts, didn’t return any matches for the statement. Major U.K. media outlets have also not reported about Johnson making the remark during a 2019 speech.

A keyword search revealed the quote actually originated in a satirical article published in June 2019 by The National, a newspaper that describes itself as supporting “an independent Scotland.” At the top of the article, which is titled “We need to tax the grievance monkey unwashed Jocks until they squeak,” there is a disclaimer that reads, “For the avoidance of doubt, this piece is a parody.”

The U.K. Prime Minister’s Office did not respond to a request for comment.

Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Reporter
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