Chris Bryant MP, Labour's Shadow Immigration Minister, commenting on Sir Michael Scholar’s letter to Iain Duncan Smith, said:
"Once again, the Immigration Minister and the Employment Minister have been found to be misusing statistics for their own political ends.
"And this is not the first time Sir Michael has had to reprimand the ministers in question; both have a track record of twisting official statistics to mislead the public for their political gain.
"By not regarding these statistics as ‘official statistics’, the two ministers have attempted to get around the UK Statistics Authority’s Code of Practice which would have ‘prevented Government Ministers from issuing a political commentary ahead of the statistics publication.
"As Sir Michael points out, the statistics produced by the Department for Work and Pensions are ‘highly vulnerable to misinterpretation. There are some important caveats and weaknesses that need to be explained carefully and objectively to Parliament and the news media at the time of publication’ and I believe that it was certainly Chris Grayling’s and Damian Green’s intention to use this report to misrepresent people who live here legally and have a right to claim working-age benefits.
"We now call on the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and the Home Secretary to agree to Sir Michael’s request that ‘any further publication of these, or of any such statistics, be handled as an official statistics release."