Chair of the UK Statistics Authority Sir David Norgrove has written to the leaders of political parties in the UK ahead of the forthcoming general election.

In his letter Sir David has asked that statistical sources should be clear and accessible to all, that any caveats or limitations in the statistics should be respected and that campaigns should not pick out single numbers that differ from the picture painted by the statistics as a whole.

Sir David Norgrove said:

“Statistics can be a powerful support for an argument, but misuse damages their integrity, causes confusion and undermines trust. It can also lead debate to focus too much on the statistics themselves, distracting from the issues at hand. This is particularly important during the intense public scrutiny of an election campaign, where misinformation can spread quickly.”

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Notes to Editors

  • Sir David Norgrove’s letter is published in full online here.
  • Sir David has written to the leaders of all political parties with more than one representative in at least one the four national parliaments and assemblies of the UK. A full list can be found through the above link.
  • The UK Statistics Authority is an independent body operating at arm’s length from government as a non-ministerial department, directly accountable to Parliament. It was established on 1 April 2008 by the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007.
  • The Authority’s statutory objective is to promote and safeguard the production and publication of official statistics that serve the public good. It is also required to promote and safeguard the quality and comprehensiveness of official statistics and ensure good practice in relation to official statistics.
  • Sir David Norgrove wrote to party leaders ahead of the 2017 general election.
  • The Authority’s full interventions policy can be read online here and a full set of correspondence from Sir David Norgrove can be found here.
  • Details of the Code of Practice for Statistics can be read online here.