“The idea that lockdown is a cost-free, risk-free option is absolutely untrue, as we have now seen from the 100,000 children who have come off school rolls and disappeared.”

Bob Seely, House of Commons

January 30, 2022

Facts

This assertion from Tory MP Bob Seely seems to be based on figures provided by Dame Rachel de Souza, the Children’s Commissioner, in an interview. Dame Rachel claimed, "between 80,000 and 100,000 children were not on any school rolls at all".

This was later corrected by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner which stated ‘between 80,000 to 100,000 children missed more school than they attended in autumn 2020’

Verdict

Seely’s assertion in the Commons was based on a statement by the Children’s Commissioner, which was later corrected. 

When we showed our analysis to Mr Seely, he replied “I was quoting information in the public domain which showed that there were costs as well as benefits of lockdown. This seems to me to be a statement of the obvious, and was said as part of the public debate into a major issue of the day.” We are grateful to Mr Seely for his swift response.

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