Sunday 18 July 2010

Fact-checking the Cheltenham myth (ctd)

As part of our commitment to political education, this blog on Friday pledged to identify and challenge those media outlets which repeat the widely believed but pernicious political myth that John Taylor lost "a Tory safe seat" at Cheltenham in 1992 because he is black.

On cue, the only two broadsheets to recap Taylor's previous political career repeated the error on Saturday.

Rosa Prince in Saturday's Telegraph:

Lord Taylor became first black Conservative MP when he was made a peer in 1996, four years after losing the safe seat of Cheltenham for the Tories after suffering racist abuse from his own supporters.

And David Brown in Saturday's Times, which will charge you to read its claim (paywall) that;

Lord Taylor of Warwick was made the first black Tory peer four years after losing the formerly safe Conservative seat of Cheltenham by 1,668 votes in 1992 following an election marred by allegations of racism.

That Cheltenham was a marginal seat can not be disputed: the Tories were defending a majority of 7.6%. Further, there is little or no evidence to suggest that race was a decisive factor.

Letters to the editors have been dispatched!

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