Election Blog: Week Three

12 June 2024 | Chris Morris

The publication of party manifestos is a critical moment in any election campaign. It’s the closest we get to the parties issuing a contract with the people, and for Full Fact it’s an important way to hold a future government to account: “Here’s what they promised” and “here’s what they’re delivering.” 

It’s also worth remembering that if the winning party’s manifesto pledges included legislative changes, the ‘Salisbury convention’ means they will not be opposed in the House of Lords. That is one reason why it is vital that parties set out their manifestos in ways that allow meaningful scrutiny and audit of their pledges.

Full Fact has set out its views on manifesto standards before - at a minimum the parties should ensure that they get their facts right, that their manifesto doesn’t mislead voters, and that they can provide clear evidence to back up the claims they make. 

Honesty in public debate matters

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We've fact checked claims made in party manifestos this week

At the time of publication, Labour had yet to publish their manifesto but we will also be publishing fact checks of it and several other major parties’ manifestos in due course.

The need for honesty and transparency is even more important at a moment when we face a crisis of confidence in our politics, and an epidemic of misinformation online. Trust in politics is at a 40-year low, and recent research by Full Fact and Ipsos* says 75% of UK adults expect misinformation to impact the result of the general election in some way.

Chris Morris, CEO – Full Fact

So, it’s up to our politicians to take the lead. That means running honest campaigns, avoiding deceptive campaign practices, and committing to using new technology like generative AI transparently and responsibly. We want to increase trust in politics, not diminish it - and those who seek our votes have to make the first move. 

We’re proud to hold everyone in public office to high standards, and that means we do our very best to maintain those standards ourselves. We know that bad information damages public debate and, as fact checkers, we’re committed to providing people with a balanced and accurate account of what has been presented, based on evidence rather than conjecture or hearsay. 

We always link to sources for factual statements so you don’t have to take our word for what we say and we also have a clear policy on corrections, including for our own fact checks. We’re always mindful of new evidence or faulty analysis when publishing any material. 

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This means that we never think our word is final. We are robustly in favour of freedom of speech, and have absolutely no intention of shutting down anyone’s opinions on the political issues that matter. But we take the view that any facts and statistics cited in public debate should stand up to scrutiny. Voters deserve nothing less.

So, at the heart of everything we will do in this election campaign is our commitment to transparency and accountability. We maintain that fact checking is vital to the health of our democracy, because it helps ensure that everyone is equipped with reliable information to make decisions for themselves. 

This week is all about big set piece events like manifesto launches and leaders’ debates. But there’s plenty more going on beneath the surface, and we’ll be looking at things like campaign adverts and the way the election is being fought online as the campaign progresses. There’s still a long way to go - so please stay tuned!

*NOTE: Full Fact commissioned Ipsos to conduct an online survey of 2,000 adults aged 18+ across the United Kingdom.

Fieldwork took place between 19 – 21 December 2023 among UK adults aged 18+, representative by age, gender, and region. The data were weighted to the known population of these demographics. Data shown refers to UK adults 18+ unless otherwise noted (sub sample of UK adults aged 18-34 n=478).

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Bad information ruins lives. It promotes hate, damages people’s health, and hurts democracy. You deserve better.