Express corrects inaccurate ‘migrant children’ story

by Luke Lythgoe | 23.06.2016

On the day of the referendum, the Express has printed a correction to its May 16 story on the rising cost of educating EU “migrant children”. This is the seventh correction resulting from InFacts’ ongoing campaign to report inaccurate Brexit stories to the press watchdog.

The original Express headline read:

Express children EU

Its website ran a longer headline, which read:

Express EU migrant child headline

Both versions continued: “The cost of educating 700,000 children from the EU in British schools has hit £3.2 billion a year.”

The 700,000 figure quoted by the Express refers to “dependent children aged 5 to 18 with at least one parent who held EEA** nationality”. However, it is inaccurate to refer to them as “migrant children”. Such a definition would include Nigel Farage’s children with his German wife. Even children with both parents holding a passport from another EEA country should not be described as “migrant children” if they were born in Britain.

The Times ran an inaccurate headline for the same story. After being contacted by InFacts, it promptly amended the headline.

The Express agreed to change its online headline, which now reads:

Express EU migrant children correct headline

The sub-head was also amended to read: “The cost of educating 700,000 children, with at least one parent from the EEA in British schools has hit £3.2billion a year.”

Four further amendments were made to the article, including to the introductory paragraph, which now reads: “The bill has nearly doubled in 10 years thanks to free movement rules, it was claimed yesterday.” The original used “revealed” instead of “claimed”. The changes have altered the tone of the article, portraying this as a Vote Leave argument rather than fact.

The Express also published a correction on page 27 of the newspaper’s print version.

Express Eu migrant children printed correction

A similar footnote acknowledging the correction was added to the bottom of the online article.

Express EU migrants online correction

InFacts still has 12 complaints outstanding with the press watchdog, as detailed in our “hateful 8” and “sinful 6” dossiers. It is unlikely these inaccurate pro-Brexit articles will now be corrected, if at all, before the referendum polls close. This means these articles will have misled many voters making one of the most important political decisions of their lifetime.

**The European Economic Area includes all EU member states plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

This article was corrected on June 23. The original article said this was the seventh correction from the Express, rather than seventh in our campaign overall. The number of outstanding IPSO complaints has also been corrected to 12.

Edited by Yojana Sharma