FactCheck is a bit mystified.
Labour’s press office pinged out a preview of Yvette Cooper’s speech this morning, which obviously we leapt on with our fine toothed factchecking comb.
And something caught our eye. The release, published on Politics Home, announced that Yvette Cooper would say at Conference today that Labour was “the first government in a hundred years where crime went down and not up”.
We weren’t so sure about that, so we got in touch with her people.
In retrospect emailing before she delivered the speech might have been a bit keen – because when it came to the speech, she decided not to make that claim.
So why tweak it? Perhaps because it was warming up to be a whopper.
Jack Straw made a similar sweeping historical claim last year – he said that the Blair government was the first since the war to have seen a sustained fall in crime, year-on-year. We proved him wrong – you can read more here.
Ms Cooper was right to pull the line from her speech, as we doubt it would have stood the FactCheck test. As for her amended claim – is she right?
Well, records only began in 1981 – some way after 1911.
So it doesn’t take long to discover that yes, she’s right. The last Labour government was indeed the “first since records began” to preside over a fall in crime – from a total number of 16,469 in 1997, to 9,503 in 2010.
However, as we have previously pointed out, it’s worth noting that the decline began under John Major’s Tory government.
By Emma Thelwell