Benson-Pope doesn’t do himself any favours by telling such obvious porkies, as the one below. It doesn’t exactly add to his credibility over the wider abuse issue.
This particular issue is trivial, but the lie is blatant. Benson-Pope says the reason he chose to have lunch with John Cleese rather than turn up to Parliament is because he “did not realise a question from Mrs Collins about the effect poor childhood experiences had later in life would develop into questions about the allegations”
This frankly is a lie. No-one is that stupid or naive, and he shows his total contempt for others by such a bald-faced lie.
Let me explain a bit about how Ministerial office prepare for questions. When they get a copy of the questions, shortly after 10.30 am, staff and officials go to work preparing answers for any possible situation. Ministers know that innocuous questions are always designed to go somewhere to attack them or the Government, and the fun challenge is working out what the angle is. Normally not hard – you look at recent media stories and OIA or PQ releases and it is obvious.
Now even Martha the part-time tea lady could work out that the day after the Police report into Benson-Pope having hit a student in the face was the real issue behind the question by Judith Collins about poor childhood experiences. The possibility the Minister did not work it out is zero. Less than zero. Way less than zero.
Now it’s a small issue compared to the abuse allegations. But it shows a Minister who simply tells lies without compunction. And hence when you consider the wider allegations, then why the hell should one believe him there because sure as hell if someone will tell a lie about a small issue, you won’t get the truth on a big issue!
He could have even won sympathy if he had told the truth and said given a choice between lunch with John Cleese and seeing MPs wave tennis balls around the chamber, he thinks he made the call anyone else would make. But instead he lied.