Election Live

The latest updates from our fact checking team

2 years 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.

2 years 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

2 years 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.

2 years ago

Digitally altered Diane Abbott video

Before this election started, concerns were raised about the possibility of “deepfake” videos being deployed during the campaign. 

To date, we haven’t seen any deepfakes, other than deepfakes intended to warn people about the existence of deepfakes.

However, we have seen videos that use much cruder techniques.

Today we’ve seen a video spreading online of Diane Abbott, digitally altered to show her in clown makeup, and talking about why you should vote Labour. 

It’s not difficult to see that the makeup has been digitally added to the video (you can see the original unedited video here.)

It’s notable because spoof subtitles have been added to the video, which becomes interesting when you take into account that many people watch videos on social media without sound. While this obviously isn’t intended to fool anyone, it might be worth bearing in mind that subtitles don’t necessarily reflect what’s actually being said in the video.

2 years ago

A&E waits: record levels—but data only goes back to 2010

Last week many media outlets reported that A&E waiting times had hit their “worst ever level”. This is technically correct, but it’s worth noting that comparable data only goes back to 2010. 

In October 2019, 83.6% of patients attending all types of A&E departments (including things like dental A&E and urgent care centres) in England were admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours. We don’t have data on the situation before the four hour target was introduced in 2004, although it seems likely that the situation was worse in the preceding decade, when public concern about “corridors of shame” prompted the introduction of the target in the first place.

You can read our full fact check here.

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