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Chris Grayling vindicated as independent evaluation concludes violent crime has risen by 44% under Labour

A few weeks ago Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling appeared to get into something of a pickle after the head of the statistics agency criticised him. Mr Grayling has waited patiently for vindication and gets it this morning.

The core of the problem is that Labour changed the way crime statistics were collected (they've done this in a number of walks of life) and this makes historical comparisons tricky.

Mr Grayling asked independent researchers in the Houses of Parliament to look at the violent crime statistics and judge whether incidents had indeed fallen as Labour insists. They conclude that violent crime is up by 44%. The newspapers go big on the results this morning:

Screen shot 2010-03-09 at 07.22.22The Telegraph: "Violent attacks are estimated to be 44 per cent higher than they were in 1998 after research on the way police record them allowed comparisons for the first time. The study, by the independent House of Commons Library, shows violence against the person increased from 618,417 to 887,942 last year. The devastating review comes despite repeated claims by the Government that violent crime has come down substantially since it took power."

Daily Mail: "Violent crime has rocketed by 44 per cent under Labour, official Parliamentary research revealed last night. The House of Commons Library report is the definitive independent verdict on the 13-year record of the Government. The Tories say the research backs their claims about 'broken Britain'."

The Sun: "Violent crime has rocketed by 44 PER CENT under Labour, independent figures revealed yesterday. The number of attacks has soared from 618,000 a year to just under 888,000 over the last decade. The huge increase was uncovered in new research by the highly respected House of Commons Library. It follows a row over the way figures are tallied. The Government changed the way violent crime is measured eight years ago. That made it impossible to directly compare statistics before 2002 with those that followed."

The Times: "The Tories are to risk a row with statistics chiefs by insisting that violent crime has soared under Labour. Chris Grayling, the Shadow Home Secretary, will reopen the row over misleading figures after asking parliamentary statisticians to ajudicate. A new study, by the House of Commons library, suggests that violent crime against the person has risen 44 per cent since between 1998-99 and today. The figure offers a key point of difference with Labour in one of the central issues of the Tory election campaign."

I note the BBC's Mark Easton, who started the tough questioning of Chris Grayling on Radio 4's Today programme, wasn't on this morning's edition to discuss the House of Commons' independent research.

Tim Montgomerie

> Andrew Lilico, Chief Economist of Policy Exchange, recently took the Office of National Statistics to task for its misleading presentation of economic growth numbers.

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