Asking the right questions for a better-informed public

Asking the right questions for a better-informed public
by Allan LEONARD for FactCheckNI
28 January 2020

Representing FactCheckNI and as part of a four-person panel, I was invited to give evidence to the UK House of Lords Select Committee on Democracy and Digital Technologies. Fellow witnesses were Ed Humpherson (Director General for Regulation, Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR)), Will Moy (Chief Executive, Full Fact), and Jenni Sargent (Managing Director, First Draft). Continue reading Asking the right questions for a better-informed public

Are there only DUP members in the House of Lords?

CLAIM: There are only DUP members (who are/were members of a Northern Ireland political party) in the House of Lords.

CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. There are at least 11 peers currently in the House of Lords who are, or were, members of a Northern Ireland political party. Four of those 11 are registered as DUP. Continue reading Are there only DUP members in the House of Lords?

Are only 3 out of 12 regions net contributors to the UK Treasury?

CLAIM: Only 3 out of 12 regions are net contributors to the UK Treasury.

CONCLUSION: ACCURATE. Data from the ONS showed that only three regions of the UK — London, the southeast and the east of England — ran a fiscal surplus in the 2017-18 financial year, the latest year for which figures are available. Continue reading Are only 3 out of 12 regions net contributors to the UK Treasury?

Are 2% of pregnancy terminations between 20 and 24 weeks?

CLAIM: About 2% of pregnancy terminations take place between 20 and 24 weeks.

CONCLUSION: ACCURATE. In 2018, 1.8% of all abortions in Great Britain took place at gestations of 20 weeks and over; 1.7% of all abortions in England and Wales took place at gestations of 20 to 24 weeks. Continue reading Are 2% of pregnancy terminations between 20 and 24 weeks?

Does Brexit deal mean no forms to access Great Britain?

CLAIM: The current negotiated deal for the UK leaving the EU outlines no forms, checks, or barriers of any kind for goods leaving Northern Ireland to Great Britain.

CONCLUSION: INACCURATE WITH CONSIDERATION. While no customs export declaration forms would be required (as Northern Ireland will remain in a UK-wide customs area), exit summary declarations will be required to move goods between Northern Ireland and Great Britain. These declarations represent a new intervention, in addition to existing checks. Continue reading Does Brexit deal mean no forms to access Great Britain?

Do 40% of Unionists support a potential Irish Sea trade border?

CLAIM: 40% of Unionists are happy about a potential trade border in the Irish Sea.

CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. 15% of unionists in a LucidTalk poll in August 2019 said there should be a “Northern Ireland specific backstop.” 81% of those declaring as unionists said there should not. Continue reading Do 40% of Unionists support a potential Irish Sea trade border?