Fact check: Claims about politicians, ULEZ exemptions and Labor seats

This compilation of claims has been compiled by Full factsThe UK’s largest fact-checking charity working to find, expose and counter the harm of bad information.

Claims about politicians from Labor and Reform UK

In the days following the general election, we have seen a number of false claims about politicians circulating on social media.

Posts on X (formerly Twitter) and Facebook claimed that the new finance minister Rachel Reeves said “the state pension is a benefit, it can no longer be a right for everyone”, and that she had announced “new pension rules” where those earning £30,000 or more, who pay into a work-based or private pension for . at least 30 years, will no longer be entitled to a state pension.

But There is no evidence that Ms Reeves made any such comment, and no such plans have been announced. The claims may have stemmed from a suggestion made in a radio interview by Sir Edward Troup, reportedly an adviser to Ms Reeves, that the state pension could be means-tested at some point in the future. But a Labor spokesman said: “This is not Labor Party policy.”

Other posts shared thousands of times on social media have claimed that a UK reform candidate standing in the Clapham and Brixton Hill elections in south London may not be a real person, with speculation that he “looks AI-generated”.

But the candidate in question, Mark Matlock, is very much a real person, which he explained in a broadcast interview and confirmed by other media outlets. However, Mr Matlock said his image on the campaign leaflets had been “altered to change my tie and suit”.

And in case you were wondering, a picture of the new Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer wearing a pink hijab – which has had over 2.5 million views on X – is not authentic. Although we don’t know for sure where the image came from, it was published by a satirical website in October 2023 and has since been taken out of context. It may have been generated with the help of AI as there are some discrepancies with the hands in the image, which could be a sign.

ULEZ exemptions

It has been claimed elsewhere on social media that an exemption from London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) for electric vehicles will end next year.

This is not true. While a discount on London’s congestion charge for zero-emission vehicles is due to end in 2025, all electric vehicles remain exempt from the daily £12.50 ULEZ charge.

A news article pictured with the claims we’ve seen circulating actually refers to the change to the congestion charge for electric vehicles coming into force in 2025 and does not relate to the separate ULEZ scheme.

Did Labor win 411 or 412 seats?

Finally, you may have noticed a slight discrepancy in the reports on the number of seats Labor won in last week’s general election.

Some sources, including the media, the House of Commons library and the Institute for Government think tank, have said Labor won 411 seats. But according to other media, Labor actually won 412 seats.

The difference depends on how Sir Lindsay Hoyle’s place in Chorley is reckoned. Sir Lindsay was originally elected in Chorley as a Labor MP in 1997 and was affiliated with the party until 2019. However, he had to renounce his party allegiance when he was elected Speaker in 2019, having served as Deputy Speaker to John Bercow since 2010.

As Speaker, Sir Lindsay ran as a non-party candidate in this year’s general election, with neither Labor nor the Conservatives fielding a candidate against him in his constituency, which is the convention. He was re-elected Speaker by MPs at the first meeting of the new House of Commons on Tuesday.

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