I’d like you to cast your no-doubt enormous brains back to the Mayoral event Your London, Your Say which took place at the O2 Arena in September last year. The transcript contains the following statements from Boris Johnson:

If you look at the relative brain size and this terrible thing of a kid who is been brought up in a dysfunctional household. The physical size of the brain of a kid brought up in a dysfunctional household compared to a kid who has a happy stable family, I am afraid it is very sad to see the difference in opportunities.

Assembly member Jennette Arnold picked up on these supposed facts and put in a question at the November 2009 Mayor’s Question Time.

Today’s Guardian reports that Iain Duncan Smith, whom I identified as the Tory source of Boris’s statements, has been accused of grossly misrepresenting the work of leading neuroscientist, Dr Bruce Perry:

His research assessed the brain development of children who suffered extreme forms of neglect – such as those locked in a basement without human contact – and he said it was wrong to apply the findings to children who have undergone far less severe neglect, such as those from broken homes.

It’s also ironic that Boris Johnson prefaced his remarks about children in “dysfunctional household(s)” with the following statement, in light of his axing of the LDA childcare team:

The tragedy is that most kids who are going to go off the rails will find that their critical life experiences are between nought and three; that is when it happens.

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