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Prayers

Volume 708: debated on Friday 4 February 2022

[Mr Speaker in the Chair]

On a point of order, Mr Speaker, I want to raise comments made on Monday by the Prime Minister, who I believe inadvertently mislead the House. On Monday 31 January, the Prime Minister said in this place that

“we have been cutting crime by 14%”.—[Official Report, 31 January 2022; Vol. 708, c. 24.]

Again on Monday, he said:

“What we are actually doing is cutting crime by 14%”.—[Official Report, 31 January 2022; Vol. 708, c. 50.]

The Prime Minister was referring to the national crime statistics, which were published on 27 January.

In a letter to the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr Carmichael), the UK Statistics Authority said that

“the Prime Minister referred to a 14% reduction in crime, which is the change between the year ending September 2019 and the year ending September 2021. This figure also excludes fraud and computer misuse, though the Prime Minister did not make that clear. If fraud and computer misuse are counted in total crime as they should be, total crime in fact increased by 14% between the year ending September 2019 and the year ending September 2021.”

The ministerial code states:

“It is of paramount importance that Ministers give accurate and truthful information to Parliament, correcting any inadvertent error at the earliest opportunity.”

It seems clear that the Prime Minister inadvertently mislead the House, and I would be grateful for your advice, Mr Speaker, on how he might at the earliest opportunity correct the record.

First, may I say I am grateful to the hon. Lady for giving notice of her point of order? She may be aware that the issue was raised by the hon. Member for North East Fife (Wendy Chamberlain) yesterday. I repeat what was said in response to that point of order. Although the Chair is not responsible for the content of contributions made by Ministers, I am sure that the concern was heard by those on the Treasury Bench. If an error has been made in this instance, I am sure that the Prime Minister will seek to correct it as quickly as possible. She will no doubt also be aware of paragraph 8.15 of the ministerial code, which deals with the use of statistics. I am sure she will find ways of pursuing this issue, should she wish to do so.