The Big Debate: Factchecked

30th May 2017 | Katie Craig

Yesterday morning at 9:00am Victoria Derbyshire hosted ‘The Big Debate’, kicking off this week’s election coverage and as always Full Fact were ready and waiting to live factcheck the claims made and give you the facts.

The show consisted of a live election debate with an audience of 120 voters and senior politicians: Dominic Raab (Con), Emily Thornberry (Lab), Suzanne Evans (UKIP), Lord (Dick) Newby (LD), and John Nicolson (SNP).

This was also a big debate for us as it was the first time Full Fact has been ‘on screen’ in this election, with our Director Will Moy joining the panelists as the live factchecker and answering the questions the audience has on the figures.

This included Will explaining the ‘Brexit bill’ and the figures this might entail, what are the correct immigration statistics and the financial impacts they hold, foodbanks numbers and their causes and finally house building.

Unsurprisingly, his contribution garnered a lot of approval and support from people:

So here’s all the live factchecks we posted on the claims made during the debate.

On police and security:

“We’ve increased counter-terrorism police, we’re bringing in 2000 more into the intelligence agencies...in terms of counterterrorism police the numbers have gone” - Dominic Raab

“I am asking about the 20,000 fewer police officers and the 26,000 fewer support staff” - Victoria Derbyshire

On social care:

“The Conservatives were accused of a U-turn on social care last week after Theresa May said under her plans there would now be a cap on how much people contributes to their own care costs” - Victoria Derbyshire

The amazing tweets we received from people during our factchecking were so encouraging and helped keep us going!

Next came Will’s input on what kind of figure the ‘Brexit Bill’ might be:

“The figures we’ve heard have ranged everywhere from about £20 billion to £100 billion...what’s going to happen is that they will be worked out in political negotiations between us and the rest of the EU” - Will Moy

And on immigration…

“We have approximately the same number of people leaving the country and we know that’s between 250,000 and 300,000 a year and the same coming in” - Suzanne Evans

“In the last year we’ve seen net migration come down by 25%” - Dominic Raab

“Because there are a million more immigrants coming into the country every 3 to 4 years, they keep pushing the pension age up and up and up for all of us...I think the real reason is because of the out of control immigration into this country” - Audience member

“The people who immigrate tend to be young and so they are probably not the ones responsible for why the pension age is going up” - Will Moy

And finally on the national debt:

“the debt is 1.7 trillion...in 2010, 1 trillion” - Victoria Derbyshire

“we are so many people using foodbanks?” - Audience member

“Both Labour and the Conservatives have failed to meet their housing targets set before they came into power...2 million new homes were built under 13 years of New Labour” - Victoria Derbyshire

“We have built thousands of affordable homes since 2010” - Dominic Raab

So that’s all from us for now! We’ve already factchecked ‘The Battle for Number 10’ Jeremy Paxman interviews and live audience Q&A sessions between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn. You can read our full round-up post here: https://fullfact.org/blog/2017/may/battle-number-10-factchecked/

Make sure to watch out for our upcoming live factchecks of the debates this week, including:

  • Tonight’s BBC Wales leader’s debate with Huw Edwards at 8:30pm, that includes all five main Welsh party leaders in Cardiff.
  • Wednesday 31st May at 7.30pm, BBC1 host ‘The BBC Election Debate’ with a seven-way podium battle between senior Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, SNP, Plaid Cymru, Green Party and UKIP spokespeople, with Mishal Husain moderating the debate.
  • Friday 2nd June at 8:30pm on BBC1 ‘Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn BBC Question Time special’, where both leaders will face audience questions separately for 45 minutes, in a session moderated by David Dimbleby.

We also have two Facebook Live factchecking Q&A sessions this Wednesday and next Tuesday 6th June, so please write in to tell us the questions you want answered!

As always we need your help to continue holding politicians and the media to account, especially during such an important time as this election. Please help us continue to give you the facts, by donating to our crowdfunder.


We aim for our factchecks to be as accurate and up-to-date as possible. If you think we've made an error or missed some relevant information, please email team@fullfact.org.