8 months, 3 weeks ago

Some fact checks from the Green party manifesto

We’ve been taking a look at a number of claims in the Green Party’s manifesto, which was launched today. Here are our first two quick fact checks (we’ll keep looking into the other claims in the manifesto). 

Claim: “Our century is only 19 years old, but already we have had 18 of the hottest years on record. This summer saw the hottest day ever recorded in the UK, and the hottest month ever recorded across the world.”

According to data from NASA, 18 of the 19 hottest years on record have happened since 2001 (the only other ‘hottest year’ that didn’t happen this century was in 1998).

The highest temperature ever recorded in the UK was recorded in July 2019. A high of 38.7 degrees celsius was reached in the Cambridge University Botanic Garden on 25 July.

According to the EU’s Copernicus Climate Institute, July 2019 was also “marginally” the warmest month ever recorded globally.

Claim: “15% of people... take 70% of flights.”

This is based on analysis of government survey data from 2014 (the data doesn’t seem to have been updated since then). We fact checked this in 2016 and found it was a reasonable estimate. Read more about our findings here.

8 months, 3 weeks ago

NHS surcharge

Over the weekend the Conservative party announced plans to increase the immigration health surcharge for everyone coming to live and work in the UK to £625. In the announcement it said that at the moment those who are here on a work, study or family visa only pay a £400 surcharge to use the NHS.

It’s correct that the surcharge is currently £400, but claiming this is all that migrants pay into the NHS isn’t correct because it ignores the fact that immigrants pay taxes which go towards paying for things like the NHS.

You can read our fact check here.

8 months, 3 weeks ago

How many horses in Kensington?

Right at the beginning of the election we criticised the Liberal Democrats for putting out information overstating their chances in parliamentary seats by using polling questions that ask about specific scenarios, rather than general voting intention.   

We've recently seen an interesting new example of this approach. 

On Sunday the Liberal Democrat candidate for Kensington Sam Gyimah (formerly of the Conservative party) tweeted out polling which asked voters in three London constituencies (including Kensington) who they would vote for if the only two parties with a realistic chance of winning were:

  • Labour and the Conservatives, or 
  • the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives.

In the Conservative/Labour head-to-head, the Conservatives “won” all three seats. But with a Conservative/Lib Dem head-to-head, the Lib Dems took all three.

Now this is all very interesting, but it’s not how elections actually work. Voters are not told which parties have a “realistic chance” when they’re in the polling booth. (The point of this kind of campaign technique, of course, is to try and convince voters of your favoured interpretation of the parties’ relative chances.)

So using that data, as, as Mr Gyimah did, to say that “Only the @LibDems can stop the Tories in Kensington” is pushing things a bit far—especially as Kensington is currently held by Emma Dent Coad, a Labour MP. 

The poll to which Mr Gyimah refers also looked at the actual voting intention in Kensington, when respondents are not told that only two parties have a realistic chance.

It shows the Conservatives on 36%, the Lib Dems on 33%, and Labour on 27%. So the Lib Dems are polling ahead of Labour, but the data suggests all three parties have a competitive chance of taking the seat.

8 months, 3 weeks ago

Good morning!

We're preparing for tonight's TV debate between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn, which we'll be live fact checking. We'll also be doing a roundup of the biggest claims from the show.  

Elsewhere this morning, we've watched the Green party election 2019 manifesto launch - there wasn't much to fact check in the speeches, but we'll look through the manifesto document and have updates later today

8 months, 3 weeks ago

We’re off to talkRADIO.

Tune into Eamonn Holmes’ show at 5.30pm to hear our editor, Tom Phillips, run through some of the biggest claims of the last week.

We’ll be covering maggots in orange juice, immigration numbers, misleading leaflets and Scottish GDP

Listen online.