In the Evening Isvestia:

The claims provoked an immediate response from Mayor Boris Johnson, who said: “If Paris is seen as the city of light it must be plugged into the London grid.

“Ours is the real capital of culture, the arts and fashion — a vibrant, diverse and welcoming city steeped in history.”

He added: “It is bursting with world class attractions and entertainment, and filled with more Michelin starred restaurants than our Gallic cousins can muster. Venez à Londres.”

No it bloody doesn’t.  2012 Michelin Guide (which is when he originally started using it):

  1. Paris : 82 (including 10 3 stars)
  2. London : 55 (including 2 3 stars, the same as Bruges and fewer than San Sebastian in Spain)

London is clearly the second most starred city in Europe by a good long way but is also twice the size of Paris and thus has considerably fewer Michelin starred restaurants per capita than the French capital.

Let’s see how often Boris has used this in the past without being pulled up:

July 2012, Channel 4’s FactCheck isn’t fooled for a moment, at what’s probably the first use of the false fact, at the opening of the media centre:

“More Michelin-starred restaurants than Paris, if I’ve got that statistic right…I think I’m getting some learned nods there, but if I’m wrong I’m more than happy to go and verify that. In Paris.”

On restaurants, we foresee a trip to Paris in the offing, because he’s wrong on that one too.

October 2012, the Independent doesn’t do its homework:

Before the Olympics, in a last-minute sales pitch for the city, Boris Johnson boasted that London had more Michelin-starred restaurants than Paris

November 2012, the Telegraph doesn’t rock the boat either, it’s perfectly obviously untrue, but that’s fine, it’s Boris, and he’s a legernd.  To point out that he’s a congenital liar makes one a ‘spoilsport':

The capital, he went on, exported bicycles to Holland, mosquito repellent to Brazil, tea to China, Piers Morgan to America. It even had more Michelin-starred restaurants than Paris. “Yes! A fact too good to check!”

If, like a spoilsport, you do indeed check, you will of course find that Paris has comfortably more Michelin-starred restaurants than London. But to a Boris audience, mere accuracy is beside the point.

March 2013, ITV:

Overheard – Johnson to Blanc: “I keep claiming we have more Michelin stars than Paris but I’m told the statistic is nonsense”.

“A fact too good to be checked,” according to one City Hall insider.

This is a classic example of a Great Boris Lie – it was known to be wrong from the start, yet he’s not only carried on using it, but the press are letting him despite (mostly) knowing it’s wrong.  This isn’t looking very good for the press really.  A proper free and unafraid press, like the one Boris has been trying to kid us that Leveson is going to remove, would find out whether he was given it or just made it up and why he continued using it for at least nine months after it had been pointed out as baloney by Channel 4.

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