The Prime Minister Rishi Sunak used incorrect figures when citing Home Office action on tackling the backlog of asylum claims, according to the statistics watchdog.
In a letter to the government, Sir Robert Chote, the head of the UK Statistical Authority, noted that the data cited by ministers, notably Rishi Sunak, “do not reflect” official numbers.
Additionally, he argued that it was inaccurate to assert that Tory governments had been able to cut the number of people waiting for their asylum applications to be processed in half given that the backlog has increased by almost 150,000 since Labour left office.
Ministers have been warned by the official about the “expectations” placed on them while utilising official data in public discussions.
During a debate last night in Parliament over the ‘illegal migration bill, this was called out by Labours Stephen Kinnick, who said the following:
“He will recall that, at the beginning of the debate, I raised a point of order about the fact that he, on 19 December, said that when Labour left office in 2010, the asylum ‘backlog…was 450,000’—his words. I have received a letter from the UK Statistics Authority completely debunking that claim. It says that in fact the backlog was 19,000, and the backlog now is 166,000. As he is at the Dispatch Box, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity for him to apologise to the House and to correct the record, as per his duties under the ministerial code.”Stephen Kinnock, 27th March 2023
You can watch it below:
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