Sadly, politician misleads public is regarded by most people as a dog bites man story. But it is still quite rare for a politician to be caught in a straight untruth. This is what happened to Richard Burgon today, though, when video emerged of him saying that ‘Zionism is the enemy of peace’ when he had repeatedly denied in an interview with Andrew Neil that he had ever used that phrase, saying it didn’t represent his views.
Burgon has now issued a statement, text here. In it, Burgon says that he regrets having used the phrase and ‘the simplistic language used does not reflect how I now think about this complex issue’. Burgon points out that he used the phrase before he became an MP.
Given the vehemence with which Burgon denied ever having used the phrase, an apology for misleading people would have been more appropriate than this statement. The statement also leaves one wondering what the shadow Justice Secretary would consider to be grounds for his resignation.