Lib Dem leaflet falsely attributes pro-Lib Dem quote to the Guardian

6 November 2019
What was claimed

The Guardian said “Lib Dems winning and on the up after by-election victory” in August 2019.

Our verdict

This is misleading. The quote is an edited version of the Guardian headline, which made clear that the words originally came from Jo Swinson, not the Guardian itself.

Yesterday the Guardian’s political editor Heather Stewart shared an image of a Liberal Democrat campaign leaflet. 

The leaflet states that the “The Liberal Democrats are winning across the country” and, as evidence, includes a couple of quotes from the media. One of those quotes is attributed to the Guardian:

“Lib Dems winning and on the up after by-election victory.”

But, as Heather Stewart pointed out, those are the words of Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson, not the Guardian.

After the Liberal Democrats won the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election in early August, Ms Swinson told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: “There is another positive alternative that is the Liberal Democrats who are winning again and on the up.”

Those words were reported in the Guardian, who also paraphrased Ms Swinson’s comments in the headline of the piece:

“Jo Swinson: Lib Dems winning and on the up after byelection victory”

In their campaign leaflet, the Lib Dems edited the headline to remove the reference to Jo Swinson, falsely presenting it instead as a direct quote from the Guardian.

This is misleading and irresponsible.  As we said yesterday when fact checking a Conservative video which had been misleadingly edited, everyone deserves clear and accurate information from campaigns so they can make their own minds up about who to vote for.

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