One Country May Outlaw Lying by Politicians

Wales is considering a proposal to do just that
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 24, 2024 8:00 AM CDT
One Country May Outlaw Lying by Politicians
Britain's Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price speaks during the launch of his party's manifesto in Nantgarw, Wales, Friday Nov. 22, 2019.   (Ben Birchall/PA via AP)

"Politicians lie" is a pretty universally accepted truth—but in one country, the act could become illegal. Wales is considering implementing criminal sanctions on public servants who tell falsehoods, and if it does so, it will be the first nation to criminalize the act of lying as an elected official. The Welsh Senedd, or parliament, is considering a proposal backed by the former leader of the Plaid Cymru political party, Adam Price, who is well-known for calling for Tony Blair's impeachment back in 2004 (and again in 2016) over the war in Iraq. The proposal fizzled out when Price originally tried to introduce it last month, but is now being considered for incorporation into a new bill, the Conversation reports.

The current government leading Wales does not back the idea, as the BBC reported in May, and has warned that the Senedd may not have the authority to pass such a law. If, however, it does pass, it would be illegal for a Senedd member or candidate to "wilfully or with intent to mislead make or publish a statement that is known to be false or deceptive," unless the statement can be "reasonably inferred" to be a statement of opinion, or it is retracted (or an apology is made) within two weeks. Proceedings would need to begin within six months of the statement, and if prosecuted under the law, a person would be disqualified from being a member of the Senedd. Price told CBC Radio back in May that he doesn't think he's ever lied as a politician: "I'd be a real hypocrite if I had." (More Wales stories.)

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