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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Did Tory Ministers have a pro-European report rewritten?

Today's Times reports that Conservative ministers have been accused of manipulating an unpublished government report that they believed was too pro-European.

The report, which stated that migration from the EU had a “largely positive” effect, although it acknowledged there was less agreement about the impact of low-skilled foreigners coming to the UK, was due out in December but was delayed because of a coalition row:

Publication was postponed again until after the European elections in May, according to the BBC Two programme Newsnight, which obtained a leaked copy of the report. The programme said that Theresa May, the home secretary, sent it to the Home Office implementation unit, which rewrote it with more sceptical and negative comments, prompting accusations from Vince Cable, the business secretary, that it was “propagandist”. 

The report collected evidence on the impact of immigration from EU countries, particularly after the enlargement to cover former eastern bloc countries in 2004. It suggests that there are 2.3 million Europeans living in the UK, and 2.2 million Britons in Europe. 

Mr Cable told Newsnight: “We disagreed with the content and thought it was propagandist rather than objective. A study has now been produced that is balanced.” The Home Office said: “We do not comment on leaked documents.

It seems that it isn't just newspaper articles that we should be sceptical of. Government reports fall into that category as well.
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