Nadine Dorries wrong to claim employment higher than pre-pandemic level

24 January 2022
What was claimed

There are 420,000 more people in work now than at the start of the pandemic.

Our verdict

False. There are 420,000 more employees now than in March 2020, but the total number of people in work, including the self-employed, is 600,000 lower than it was before the start of the pandemic.

Nadine Dorries has wrongly claimed on numerous occasions that there are more people in work now than there were before the pandemic started.

The culture secretary made the claim in an interview with ITV News on 20 January and on 23 January tweeted twice that there are 420,000 more people in work.

But this data only refers to employees on company payrolls, not everyone in work, as she claimed. This is about 410,000 above the level in February 2020 and 420,000 above the level in March 2020. 

The total number of people in paid work, including the self-employed who are not counted in the figures Ms Dorries was referring to, is about 600,000 lower than it was before the pandemic began.

Previously, on 13 January, Ms Dorries gave an interview to Sky News saying much the same thing and also tweeted the claim.

Full Fact contacted Ms Dorries on 21 January asking her to correct her statements made on 13 January and has not received a response. 

The Prime Minister has also made the false claim several times at Prime Minister’s Questions in recent weeks, though did finally use the figures correctly on 19 January, saying: “We have more people, more employees on the payroll now, than there were before the pandemic began.”

We have contacted the Prime Minister, the Cabinet Secretary and Downing Street no fewer than six times asking the Prime Minister to correct the official record with regards to his previous statements.

They have not taken the opportunity to do so. 

The Ministerial Code states: “It is of paramount importance that Ministers give accurate and truthful information to Parliament, correcting any inadvertent error at the earliest opportunity. 

“Ministers who knowingly mislead Parliament will be expected to offer their resignation to the Prime Minister.”

Image courtesy of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

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After we published this fact check, we contacted Nadine Dorries to request a correction regarding this claim.

She did not respond.

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