Nadine Dorries repeated the false claim made repeatedly by Boris Johnson that there are more people in work now than when the pandemic started. She then tweetedtwice that there are 420,000 more people in work.
While there are more payrolled employees than before the pandemic, the total number of people in paid work - including the self-employed - is below the levels seen just prior to the pandemic. This figure has fallen from 5 million just before the pandemic to 4.3 million as of the third quarter of 2021.
Data from the Office for National Statistics, which includes all people in paid work in the UK, shows that this number is still about half a million below the level just prior to the pandemic. It has gone from about 33 million between December 2019 and February 2020 to 32.5 million in the latest figures from July to September 2021. The proportion of working-age people in employment is also lower than it was in early 2020, falling from 76.6% to 75.4% in this period.
We have drawn heavily on superb analysis from FullFact which made a statement on 19th January, four days before Nadine Dorries’ misleading Tweet, that “We have contacted the Prime Minister, the Cabinet Secretary and Downing Street no fewer than six times asking the Prime Minister to correct the official record with regards to his previous statements. They have not taken the opportunity to do so.”
Nadine Dorries was misleading her 122,000 Twitter followers when she said that the number of people in work has increased since the start of the pandemic. With this Tweet by Dorries a pattern is starting to emerge. Government ministers insouciantly issuing false information about employment figures in reckless disregard of the facts.
We approached Nadine Dorries to give her a chance to comment, but received no response.