The battle lines have been drawn for the general election campaign. And the politicians have opened fire with a battery of claims, counter-claims, fishy facts and spurious statistics as they attempt to secure your vote.

Channel 4 FactCheck is here to sort the facts from the spin. First launched in the run-up to the 2005 election, over the past five years the team have scrutinised claims on everything from public spending and the causes of the recession to the number of CCTV cameras in the country.

In the process, we’ve won an award for statistical excellence in journalism, been cited in parliament and received a sack of email correspondence from readers, some very complimentary, some less so.

Today, with the country expected to go to the polls in around three months, FactCheck is reborn as a blog. I’ll be marshalling the fact-checking skills of the entire Channel 4 News team, sniffing out scoops in Westminster and beyond and – I hope – adding my own insight and analysis along the way.

And that’s where Channel 4 News needs you.

You can help keep the FactCheck team – and the politicians - on their toes by suggesting a fact to check out, tipping us off about anything we might have missed, or simply leaving a comment on every article. All will be read by a FactCheck journalist; we hope that nearly all can be published (more on how comments are moderated here).

We hope this new blog site will make it easier for you to find the claims we’ve checked – you can use the search engine on the right-hand side and, as we add articles, you’ll be able to view claims easily by party.

FactCheck will examine claims made by party leaders, ministers, MPs and others in positions of power right across the political spectrum (here’s a selection of some of the most dubious claims we looked at in 2009).

If something smacks of spin, we’ll go back to the source of the claim and test it out against published statistics and official reports, ransack the archives and consult independent experts in the field to try to get to the truth.

We’ll then publish our verdict on this blog, giving claims a rating on our Fact or Fiction meter (to be unveiled shortly) so you can quickly see whether we think something stacks up.

The claims we test may come from speeches, TV debates, media interviews, online articles, manifesto pledges – pretty much anywhere in the public domain.

If you’ve heard it or seen it, let us know, and we’ll get to work.

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Category: FactCheck
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