Labour's Dawn Butler apologises after getting figures hopelessly wrong in LBC interview

20 November 2019, 10:52 | Updated: 21 November 2019, 07:16

A Labour candidate has been forced to issue an apology after claiming there are 3,000 people sleeping rough in her constituency - when the real number is just 248.

While discussing how her party will end the scourge of rough-sleeping, Dawn Butler told of how she had almost reduced rough sleeping in her London borough from 3,000 down to zero.

But Nick looked into the stats and found she was way off the truth.

"I can tell you that in 2007, I had around 3,000 or so rough sleepers in Brent.

"The Labour government invested an extra £5m to make sure we can eradicate rough sleeping. We approached the people who were sleeping rough and we helped them out of that situation."

Nick queried the figure of 3,000 and Ms Butler confirmed: "I think it was 3,000 in Brent. It was a large number."

Nick Ferrari fact-checked Dawn Butler's claims
Nick Ferrari fact-checked Dawn Butler's claims. Picture: PA / LBC

But Nick pointed out the official statistic for rough sleepers in the whole of England is only 4,751.

That is a snapshot taken on a specific day. The estimates from the Greater London Authority - considered the most accurate statistic - put the number of rough sleepers in 2018 in London at 8,855, with only 248 rough sleepers in Brent.

Nick asked her: "You're pledging to end rough sleeping, but you don't know how many people you've got to help? If you want to end a problem, you need to know the size of it.

"You're telling me the Labour Party will stop the problem of rough sleeping, but you don't know how many people there are."

Official statistics on homelessness
Official statistics on homelessness. Picture: GLA

Ms Butler admitted: "I don't know all the figures and all the numbers. It's not actually my area.

"Let's not take for fact what I've just said in terms of the numbers.

"But I can tell you this. We had a number of rough sleepers in Brent and this is what we did to eliminate rough sleepers and we almost eliminated rough sleeping until 2010 and then Labour were not in government."

Listen to the remarkable interview at the top of the page.

Later in the day, Ms Butler was forced to admit she got the figures wrong.

Writing on Twitter, she said: "Sorry I made a mistake on the figures. It was 300 not 3000.

"But as I said the point is we almost eradicated homelessness under a Labour government but now it has dramatically increased. Labour will eradicate homelessness when we are elected on the 12th December."

More Nick Ferrari

See more More Nick Ferrari

Exclusive
Boris Johnson said if people visit Rwanda they would see it is "going places"

'You'd change your mind about Rwanda if you visited': Boris defends controversial plan

The Prime Minister was grilled by Nick Ferrari on the last day of the Nato summit

Watch in Full: Nick Ferrari grills Boris Johnson

Exclusive
The PM defended sending billions in support to Ukraine during the cost-of-living crisis

PM defends Ukraine aid in cost of living crisis as he's grilled over '£150k treehouse'

'I won't be shopping in Sainsbury's again but I went back for my apology'

Mum slams supermarket after being told off by worker for breastfeeding in car park

'It's not govt policy to arm Taiwan': Foreign Affairs Committee Chair on Liz Truss' gaffe

'It's not govt policy to arm Taiwan': Foreign Affairs Committee Chair on Liz Truss' gaffe

Ben Wallace said Putin was a 'lunatic'

Putin a 'lunatic with small man syndrome' says minister as PM blasts 'toxic masculinity'

Russian invasion of Ukraine made Nato 'look again' at military capability, says defence chief

Russian invasion of Ukraine made Nato 'look again' at military capability, says defence chief

There's an 'ethical and political vacuum in No10', says former chief of staff

There's an 'ethical and political vacuum in No10', says former chief of staff

Nick Ferrari grilled Priti Patel on her Rwanda migrant plan.

Rwanda migrant plan is not 'appalling' but 'should be a deterrent', Priti Patel tells LBC

Exclusive
Lord Bilimoria, outgoing president of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) speaks to Nick Ferrari at Breakfast.

'Reduce taxes now': Outgoing CBI chief calls on Rishi to slash 'highest taxes in 70 years'

Grant Shapps has criticised the RMT leader Mick Lynch.

Rail strike called under 'false pretences' by RMT's '1970s union baron' boss, says Shapps

Ofgem chief warns price cap hike 'could be more' than predicted £800

Ofgem chief warns price cap hike 'could be more' than predicted £800

Exclusive
The chairman of Network Rail Sir Peter Hendy has told LBC the industry can be run more effectively with fewer staff.

'Steam age' railway can be run more effectively with fewer staff, rail boss says

Rail strikes will cause "misery for millions"

'Driving unrest and stoking unrealistic expectations': Minister slams RMT ahead of strikes

'What's the point of advisors?!': Nick Ferrari baffled by resignation of Lord Geidt

'What's the point of advisors?!': Nick Ferrari baffled by resignation of Lord Geidt

The minister was speaking to LBC 's Nick Ferrari

Minister calls on Mayor of London to drop congestion charge on rail strike days