Business of the House: 15th March 2018

Anna Soubry (Broxtowe) (Con)
May I refer back to the use of statistics? There is nothing wrong with a good, robust argument in this place, but if the Leader of the House, or any Minister, makes an assertion about facts, they can quite properly be challenged and brought back to this place, and made to account for any inaccuracy in the use of statistics as facts. That is not the same for right hon. and hon. Members, particularly on the Opposition Benches, and it does not enhance political debate for people to assert facts, week after week, almost day after day—this is a growing problem—without any accountability in the House. Is there anything that the Leader of the House can do? On Tuesday we had to rely on Channel 4’s FactCheck. The Library is an excellent source of information, but it is imperative that we all act with veracity and integrity, and are held accountable when we make assertions.

Andrea Leadsom
My right hon. Friend is right. You will recall, Mr Speaker, that I raised in the Chamber the issue of a private response that I gave to a Labour Member following a question that they asked me privately, but that they then tweeted, implying that I had somehow answered something else. I personally was extremely offended by that. My right hon. Friend is right: social media clips that are deliberately misleading and ignore facts to make political points undermine our Parliament and democracy, and it simply must not happen.