Don’t abuse stats during election campaign, UK Statistics Authority chair tells party leaders
David Norgrove writes to ask parties to make sure their campaign materials don’t mislead the public
David Norgrove asked party leaders to respect statistics in the run-up to the election - Photo credit: ParliamentTV
The chairman of the UK Statistics Authority has written to the leaders of the main political parties to urge them not to misrepresent statistics in the run-up to the general election on 8 JUne.
In his letter, dated 24 April, David Norgrove urged party leaders to show their “support and leadership” in ensuring that official statistics are used properly.
Norgrove, who took up the role of chairman earlier this month, noted that his predecessors Michael Scholar and Andrew Dilnot “have in the past been obliged to write publicly about the misuse of official statistics in other pre-election periods and during the EU referendum campaign”.
General election 2017: Register to Vote site pulls in 150,000 applications in a single day
Theresa May announces plan to hold early general election
Government ‘clearly failed’ to properly test Register to Vote site ahead of EU referendum
In his efforts to urge the parties to make sure they stuck to the rules, Norgrove stressed that the misuse of statistics “at any time damages the integrity of statistics, causes confusion and undermines trust”.
He said that it was in the public interest that all information is used in accordance with the principles of the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.
This includes making sure that campaigns don’t “pick out single numbers that differ from the picture painted by the statistics as a whole”.
Parties should also ensure that the statistical sources are clear and accessible to all, and that any caveats or limitations are respected.
During the EU referendum campaign, Dilnot said that Vote Leave’s assertions that the UK “sends £350m every week to Brussels” were “potentially misleading”, as well as flagging up some minor errors in the information used in the government’s leaflet about the benefits of remaining in the union.
Move follows the earlier transfer of data policymakers
Paul Maltby claims councils must first renew ageing infrastructure before realising the benefits of machine learning and automation
Both the government and human rights group Liberty claim victory after judges agree that the so-called snoopers' charter is incompatible with EU legislation
Measures unveiled in bumper research funding package include 100 additional AI PhDs
The cautionary tale of the Leicestershire teenager who hacked high-ranking officials of NATO allies shows the need for improved password security
Calm has turned a section of the 57,509-word EU document into a sleep-inducing audio book
Which? said a lack of knowledge about data among consumers had led to suspicion and doubt over useful innovations
BT's Konstantinos Karagiannis explains ethical hacking and why it's important to exploit vulnerabilities