Election 2019: live blog

Last updated: 11 December 2019

20 November 2019, 4.29pm

The funding for the bus goes down and down?

Rounding off our check of claims from last night’s ITV election interviews, Green Party co-leader Siân Berry claimed that “our buses have been cut back by nearly half.”

This refers to a 2018 report which found that, since 2010/11, local authorities’ spending on buses had been reduced by 45% in cash terms (or 51% taking inflation into account).

But that is not looking at all public money that goes into supporting bus services, as a larger chunk of funding goes directly from central government towards supporting commercially-run services. 

More recent data shows that local authority spending on buses in England, excluding London, fell by 43% between 2009/10 and 2018/19, after adjusting for inflation. But between 2009/10 and 2017/18  across the same area, central government funding—which is the far bigger pot of money—fell by 19%.

You can read our full fact check here.

20 November 2019, 12.18pm

Are there duties in Djibouti?

Last night in the ITV leaders interviews Nigel Farage talked about trade barriers the EU raises against African countries.

We’ve fact checked claims like this before and while Mr Farage is not technically incorrect because there are some EU tariffs on African countries, the vast majority of African countries can export all goods tariff free to the EU.

You can read our latest factcheck here.

20 November 2019, 11.45am

Lib Dem claims about EU health workers and the NHS are generally true

We've looked into the claims made by Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson about nursing and Brexit from last night.

Generally, she was right in her claims; the NHS employs tens of thousands of workers from other EU countries, the number of nurses from EU countries has dropped, and this has been seen especially since the referendum. Although other factors could be at play.

We've got factchecks of claims from the Greens and the Brexit Party still to come.

20 November 2019, 11.17am

SNP's currency claim on uncertain ground

From last night's leaders interviews on ITV, we've looked into the claim from Nicola Sturgeon that Scotland wouldn’t be forced to join the euro if it became an independent country and negotiated entry into the EU.

It’s a bit more complicated than that. Most EU countries have to commit to joining the currency, but it’s unclear whether in practice they would or could be forced to join.

We’ll have updates from the other three leaders on the programme shortly.

20 November 2019, 9.37am

Will Moy on Today

Here's a clip of Will Moy, our Chief Executive, on the Today programme this morning. He'll be appearing across TV and radio throughout the day.

20 November 2019, 9.20am

Good morning!

Yesterday saw the first point during the election campaign when the leaders of the two main parties went head-to-head, in a debate on ITV.

As the debate got underway, the Conservative press office changed their Twitter logo and renamed their account ‘factcheckUK’, tweeting out “fact checks” which were supportive of Boris Johnson’s claims. 

We criticised the Conservatives for this during the debate and you can hear more from our chief executive Will Moy who discussed the issue on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme this morning.

The debate itself inevitably started with Brexit, with Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson clashing over their Brexit timetables, and what Mr Johnson’s deal means for the Irish border. 

Next up was the NHS, with claims about nurse vacancies, the extent of government funding, and whether the Conservatives have committed to build 40 hospitals, or to reconfigure six.

This was followed by a third main section on the economy, and topics covered included poverty, inequality, the UK’s economic performance, and corporation tax.

Both Corbyn and Johnson got some things wrong, and plenty of claims needed more context. You can read our assessment of last night’s claims here.

After an hour’s respite with I’m a Celebrity… ITV resumed the election coverage with interviews with the Lib Dems’ Jo Swinson, the SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon, The Brexit Party’s Nigel Farage, and the Green Party’s Sian Berry.

We’ll be posting fact checks of some choice claims throughout the day on our liveblog.

19 November 2019, 4.59pm

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.

19 November 2019, 4.50pm

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.

19 November 2019, 12.59pm

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.

19 November 2019, 11.01am

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

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