UK general election 2019

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We are tracking misleading ads throughout the UK’s 2019 General Election. We’ll be updating this page as we come across them. Most are provided by our volunteers; some are from the media, especially The Guardian

If you see ads that you think are misleading that you’d like to submit please email them to examples@reformpoliticaladvertising.org. We’ll get back to you within 24 hours.

  • A Liberal Democrat leaflet included quotes purported to be from the Guardian and Sky News, i.e. their views. They weren’t their views – they were in fact quotes from Jo Swinson.
  • The Keir Starmer video – an interview with Piers Morgan – was doctored by the Conservatives to give the impression that he (Starmer) had nothing to say when in fact he had plenty to say. This is explained by the Conservatives as ‘done in jest’.
  • A Facebook ad from the Liberal Democrats Tewkesbury states: ’The political landscape has changed dramatically since the last General Election – only the Liberal Democrats can beat the Conservatives in the Tewkesbury constituency.’ Borough election results are referenced showing the Liberal Democrats in second place to the Conservatives. The 2017 General Election result had Labour in second place with 21% of the vote and the Liberal Democrats third with 13.5%, which more relevant data does not imply or substantiate the claim ‘only the Liberal Democrats can beat the Conservatives in the Tewkesbury constituency.’
  • Another Facebook ad for Nicola Horlick/ Chelsea and Fulham Liberal Democrats states: ‘Best For Britain and Hope not Hate have published important research showing only the Liberal Democrats can beat the Brexiteer Conservative MP in Chelsea & Fulham. See for yourself at www.getvoting.org.’ The modelling concerned, and its accreditation, has been called into question by a number of sources, not least https://flavible.co.uk/statement.
  • A Conservative Facebook ad – a video that shows edited clips of Labour politicians answering (or in the edited version, not answering) questions on the Labour Party Brexit policy.
  • A Conservative Hastings and Rye constituency Facebook ad which in the video makes the ‘building 40 new hospitals’ claim. The BBC fact check link is here
  • Another Liberal Democrats Tewkesbury misleading claim, this time on the candidate’s website. ‘In the most recent elections in Tewkesbury, the Liberal Democrats were by far the most popular opposition party, winning 28% of the popular vote compared to the Labour and Green Party’s 5% and 8% respectively.’ These are, again, the Borough Council Election results. In the 2017 GE, Labour were second, the Liberal Democrats a distant third.
  • In Totnes, the Lib Dem leaflets state the election to be “so close” that “only the Liberal Democrats can beat the Tories”. In 2017, the Conservatives were clear winners with 53.7% of the vote, and Labour came second.
  • In North East Somerset, the Lib Dems used a Survation poll to suggest it will be able to defeat the Conservative candidate. The poll is based on the question: “Imagine that the result in your constituency was expected to be very close between the Conservative and the Liberal Democrat candidate, and none of the other parties were competitive. In this scenario, which party would you vote for?” For the record, the last General Election result put the Tories at 53.6%, Labour at 34.7% and the Liberal Democrats at 8.3%.
  • Oxford East was a Labour stronghold in 2017 with 65% voter share. But a Liberal Democrat chart shows Labour on 37%, the Lib Dems on 35%, the Conservatives on 10% and the Greens on 9%. Data is sourced as a “projection for Oxford East constituency, Flavible Politics, YouGov poll 20 Sept 2019”. YouGov have not yet polled in constituencies
  • A leaflet from Sue Wixley Liberal Democrat candidate for Putney Roehampton and Southfields claiming YouGov polling and showing a remarkably positive result for the lib Dems. Tweeter Adam Bienkov states he spoke to YouGov and they didn’t do any polling in Putney.
  • At the risk of becoming tedious or appearing biased, or both, similar techniques were used by Chuka Umunna in City of London and Westminster and by Liberal Democrat candidates in Bristol North West and the Mole Valley
  • A Facebook ad from Tiverton and Honiton Conservative candidate Neil Parish, which appeared to involve the processing of personal data, was not GDPR compliant.
  • A Brexit party Facebook ad which stated  ‘The only way to stop a second referendum is by voting for the Brexit party.’ The Conservative Party is opposed to a second referendum.
  • Another Brexit party ad which in this case includes the line ‘For the many, not the Jew’. The video ‘Vox-pops’ a number of members of the public, presumably Jewish, who explain their nervousness of a Corbyn govt. The advertising states that the Labour party is anti-Semitic, and shows extracts from the Andrew Neill interview. CAP Code 3.42 ‘Marketing communications must not discredit or denigrate another product, marketer, trade mark, trade name or other distinguishing mark.’ Aside from that more formal position, it does not seem unreasonable to suggest that this advertising will be offensive to many.
  • The press office Twitter account for the Conservative party rebranded itself as factcheckUK for the duration of the leaders’ debate, issuing a series of ‘correcting’ statements on the Labour leader’s ‘lies’. Relevant CAP Code rules might include Clause 3.50 and 3.42 (Denigration)
  • This leaflet sent to The Coalition by a High Peak constituent is executed in the style of a local publication, only revealed to be Conservative party material by very small type at the base of the publication. Misleading or inaccurate claims are too numerous to show here; the principal claim is that the ‘Brexit deal is agreed and ready to go’ and that it ‘protects jobs and trade.’
  • This ‘Cost of Corbyn’ advertising from the Conservative party includes the statement: ‘Corbyn has committed to over £1.2 trillion of extra spending over the next 5 years.’ The advertising is misleading because it preceded the publication of the Labour manifesto. Full Fact review here.
  • This advertising from the Wokingham Conservatives is also part of a ‘Cost of Corbyn’ series which in this case makes a series of claims related to Labour Party planned taxes, some of which do not appear to reflect the actual policies from Labour.
  • The claims from the Conservative Party in Mole Valley don’t provide any kind of substantiation (normally required in all other advertising) and are anyway questioned by the BBC’s Reality Check, amongst others.