Spats over Statistics


The Treasury Select Committee has published a report on the claims of the Government and the Remain Campaign and of the Leave Campaign.  The Report can be read on the Parliament Website.   Commenting on the publication the Committee chairman said:

“The arms race of ever more lurid claims and counter-claims made by both the leave and remain sides is not just confusing the public. It is impoverishing political debate. Today is the first day of the main campaign. It needs to begin with an amnesty on misleading, and at times bogus, claims. The public are thoroughly fed up with them. The public are right….”

The Committee found that Vote Leave’s core campaign number – the idea that leaving the EU would give the country a £350m a week fiscal windfall to spend on hospitals and schools – is “highly misleading” £350m a week, and the suggestion that this money can and should be spent on the NHS, decorates Vote Leave’s “battle bus”. The Committee found that Vote Leave’s persistence with this claim is “deeply troubling”.  There were also criticisms of the Remain campaign.

In part 7 of the Report the Committee was very critical of  two Vote Leave witnesses:-

 “In their treatment of this Committee, neither Mr Elliott nor Mr Cummings, as individuals, have fulfilled Vote Leave’s commitment, made in their successful application to the Electoral Commission, to“create a valuable legacy for the UK’s democratic process”.  Their conduct has been appalling.  Mr Elliott’s and Mr Cummings’s expressed view that powers should be restored to Parliament sits ill with that conduct.”

The pair certainly seem to have upset the Treasury Select Committee.

Matthew Elliott is the Chief Executive of Vote Leave and ran the successful  referendum campaign against the Alternative Vote proposal.

Dominic Cummings is the Campaign Director and a former special adviser to Michael Gove.  He also has “form” as a paid up member of the Nasty Party.

Andrew Gimson wrote of him on the Conservative Home blog:

“Quite a few people consider Cummings to be a complete liability. Andy Coulson, the former director of communications at Downing Street, forbade the employment of Cummings by Gove when the Tories came in to government in May 2010, and managed to keep him out until the end of that year: for Coulson knew Cummings would disobey orders issued by him and others from the centre. Craig Oliver, the current Downing Street director of communications, detests Cummings. Various journalists who have crossed swords with Cummings loathe him. One of them assured me he would never trust Cummings. There is a school of thought according to which Cummings could prove as damaging for the Tories as Damian McBride was for Labour.”




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