The UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) has announced that it will be holding an official inquiry into whether Gordon Brown misrepresented official statistics to claim that the “points-based-system” — endorsed by both Labour and Conservative parties — had caused a fall in immigration.
Mr Brown’s comments stated that the points-based system had reduced the number of skilled IT workers and engineers entering Britain “by almost 20,000.”
However, Mr Brown simply ignored the other statistics which showed that the number of students admitted over the same period rose by 65,000.
According to reports, UKSA chairman Sir Michael Scholar wrote a formal warning letter last week to the Home Office, which had apparently provided Mr Brown with the unpublished figures.
The letter told the Home Office that it was not permissible to allow ministers to exploit unpublished statistics.
MigrationwatchUK chairman Sir Andrew Green made the initial complaint to the UKSA.
“It seems very probable that the Home Office are unable to substantiate the prime minister’s claims for the success of his points-based system. Indeed, I suspect that the problem is that it has actually increased immigration,” Sir Andrew was quoted as saying.
“The central question is whether the prime minister’s key speech on immigration at the beginning of the election campaign gave a truthful and accurate account of the impact of the government’s flagship policy — its points-based system.
“This saga has all the hallmarks of another Home Office cover-up. No wonder public confidence in the government’s statements on immigration is at rock bottom.”
Sir Michael has already reprimanded Mr Brown once for issuing misleading statements purporting to show a fall in immigration.
Sir Michael said it was “not comparable” to argue there had been a big fall in net inward migration after Mr Brown had made that claim as well.