Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:10 pm on 18th July 2019.

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Photo of Bernard Jenkin Bernard Jenkin Chair, Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee 12:10 pm, 18th July 2019

It is difficult to envisage how that could be done without conflicting with the right of free speech. After the referendum, there was a discussion about whether there should be some regulation of what official campaigns actually say, for example, but that is difficult to do in the rough and tumble of politics, elections and referendums. Calling people out in public and being ready to do so is an important power that UKSA has through the Office for Statistics Regulation, but the Committee thinks that it could do that much more readily and proactively. Indeed, I have been personally critical of it for not doing so; it sometimes seems rather capricious in the targets it selects. This all suggests that the OSR should be a separate body with a far greater sense of its own sense of purpose, rather than being part of the organisation that also produces all the statistics.