10 December's BBC Question Time, factchecked

Published: 11th Dec 2015

On the Question Time panel last night were Conservative communities secretary Greg Clark MP, Labour MP Caroline Flint, former Liberal Democrat MP and Business Secretary Vince Cable, academic Mary Beard and Daily Mail columnist Quentin Letts.

We factchecked their claims on Donald Trump, the European Arrest Warrant, Norway, the use of shoot-to-kill and mental health.

Donald Trump

"...on account of what he's [Donald Trump] said about not allowing Muslims into the United States... I think everybody in Britain disagrees with it"—Quentin Letts

"You say everybody but according to YouGov a quarter of the country [the UK] agrees with it"—David Dimbleby

"I'm not sure I believe that actually"—Quentin Letts

A quarter of people in the UK agree that Donald Trump's call for a ban on Muslims entering the United States is either a "very appropriate" or "quite appropriate" policy. This is according to a poll by YouGov, taken on 8 December.

Around two thirds (64%) expressed disapproval, and one in ten people (11%) weren't sure.

The American NBC News reports that it's a broadly similar picture in the United States.

European Arrest Warrant

"It's good for our security—the fact that we can actually work with police forces across the European Union to secure ... we can get criminals back here to face charges and send criminals to their countries as well"—Caroline Flint

The European Arrest Warrant sets up a procedure for arrest warrants from one EU country to be recognised by another. If a person wanted in the UK is found and arrested overseas, the authorities there decide whether or not the person should be extradited to face charges in the UK. This works the other way as well.

It's been in place in the UK since 2004. An expert review for the government in 2011 concluded that the European Arrest Warrant had "improved the scheme of surrender between Member States of the European Union and that broadly speaking it operates satisfactorily."

800 people have been handed over to the UK over the past six years under a European Arrest Warrant, according to the National Crime Agency. The UK has handed over 6,200 in the same period.

Norway and the European Union

"Norway is not a member of the European Union—it wants to trade, but has to pay in order to do that and it has to abide by every single rule and regulation but it doesn't have a say"—Caroline Flint

Norway is not a member of the EU; it's part of the European Economic Area which enables it to be part of the EU's single market.

Norway gives money to individual EU countries through grants which "came about as a result of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway's participation in the internal market". The House of Commons library describes these grants as being made "in return for access" to the single market. They're paid to poorer EU countries in Central and Southern Europe and are designed to help with things like climate change, crime and gender equality.

These aren't the only payments Norway makes to the EU. For example, other payments are made for participation in EU activities outside the single market, such as scientific research.

We'll cover this later in more depth.

Norway does have to abide by EU rules that it doesn't formally decide. A report for the Norwegian government in 2012 said that "Norway is in practice bound to adopt EU policies and rules on a broad range of issues without being a member and without voting rights".

These include everything to do with the Single Market and the Schengen agreement on passport-free travel, according to a review for the Norwegian government. It's not involved in all things EU though. For example, it doesn't take part in the Common Agricultural Policy.  

While it doesn't get to decide any of the rules it "downloads" from the EU (as the review for the Norwegian government put it), some people argue that it may have a degree of influence on the law-making process from the outside.


"You [Caroline] said it was terrible that he paused for a moment before thinking about killing somebody"—Audience member

We can't find this specific comment by Caroline Flint. But, for context, there was a reported row in the Labour Party last month after remarks leader Jeremy Corbyn made, in the wake of the Paris attacks, on whether the authorities should be allowed to "shoot-to-kill".

Political editor at the BBC Laura Kuenssberg asked:

"If you were Prime Minister, would you be happy to order people—police or military—to shoot-to-kill on Britain's streets?"

Mr Corbyn replied:

"I'm not happy with a shoot-to-kill policy in general. I think that is quite dangerous and I think can often be counter-productive. I think you have to have security that prevents people firing off weapons where you can, there are various degrees of doing things as we know. But the idea you end up with a war on the streets is not a good thing. Surely you have to work to try to prevent these things happening, that's got to be the priority".

The next day Mr Corbyn reportedly said to an internal Labour committee:

"As we have seen in the recent past, there are clear dangers to us all in any kind of shoot-to-kill policy. And we must ensure that terrorist attacks are not used to undermine the very freedoms and legal protections we are determined to defend. But of course I support the use of whatever proportionate and strictly necessary force is required to save life in response to attacks of the kind we saw in Paris."

Mental health

"I had cases of people where young people were being kept waiting for 6 months for an assessment"—Greg Clark

Last month children's charity the NSPCC published the results of research into children's mental health services in England.

It found that on average children waited almost two months from being referred, for example by a GP or social worker, to being assessed by a specialist. It also revealed there was what it called "a postcode lottery", with children waiting an average of six months in some areas and a week in others.

The findings were based on Freedom of Information responses from 35 English Mental Health Trusts, which run the services. In total there are 58 such Trusts in England. The figures don't tell us how many children are waiting six months, and which areas have longer waits than others. We've asked the NSPCC for more detail.

Round up posts like this—and those we publish for PMQs and major speeches by politicians—don't go into as much depth as our usual articles or cover every claim made in the show. Often they are done under a much shorter deadline, so we prioritise a clear conclusion above all else. As always we welcome feedback: please email the team on team@fullfact.org

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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.