- Posted by: Valerie Vaz MP
- Category: News
I raised the following Point of Order on Thursday 11 October 2018:
On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. This week, the UK Statistics Authority strongly rebuked the Department for Education for its use of statistics, including the now thoroughly discredited claim that its policies have led to 1.9 million more children being in good or outstanding schools. The Government were clearly advised to stop using that claim but, incredibly, the Prime Minister went on to reuse it at Prime Minister’s questions—ironically, when being challenged by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition on the Government’s misuse of statistics. Earlier today I challenged the Leader of the House, and she went on to repeat the same misleading statistic herself.
When my hon. Friend the Member for Batley and Spen (Tracy Brabin) raised this with Mr Speaker on Wednesday, he said that it is not his role to act as a truth commissioner, and neither is it yours, Madam Deputy Speaker. The UK Statistics Authority has already ruled on the truth of those statistics, so clearly I am not asking you to do that. However, I seek your guidance on the procedure when Ministers have inadvertently misled the House. Can you confirm that in such a case, it is incumbent on the Minister to correct the record? Can you tell us whether any Ministers have given you an indication of when they intend to do so?
Madame Deputy Speaker: I thank the hon. Lady for her point of order, and I appreciate fully the point she makes. I am glad that I do not have to argue the point that it is not for the Chair to decide on the veracity or otherwise of any statistic used in the Chamber. That is a blessing, because if it were the duty of the Chair, the Chair would have no time to do anything else. I also appreciate that the purpose of the hon. Lady’s point of order is to draw to the attention of those in the Chamber and on the Treasury Bench the factual problem that she alleges, and I have every confidence that they have noted her points, which I hope means that she has achieved her objective.