A former UKIP leadership hopeful has sparked hilarity on Twitter by claiming that 7 million babies are born each year in the UK. Steven Woolfe, Independent MEP for North West England, tweeted:
In the next five minutes 70 children will be born in the UK, 20 of those to mothers not born here. 60 people will have migrated here in that time as well.
— Steven Woolfe MEP (@Steven_Woolfe) May 22, 2018
Woolfe’s figures equate to a yearly total of 7.4 million births (including 2.1 million to mothers not born here), and 6.3 million migrants.
Out by a factor of ten
But according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), there were 774,849 live births in the UK in 2016. So Woolfe’s figures for total births were out by a factor of almost 10.
Of those children born in England and Wales, 26.9% were to mothers born outside the UK. This works out to fewer than two births every five minutes to mothers not born in the UK. So Woolfe was once again out by a factor of 10.
Out by a factor of 26
As for migration, the ONS reports that, for the year ending September 2017, net migration was 244,000. That works out at around 2.3 people per five minutes, meaning that Woolfe’s figure of 60 people per five minutes is out by a factor of 26.
It was predictable that Twitter would not let this go unnoticed:
I think a graph is due, just to show the extent of Steven's 'error' pic.twitter.com/2FNnPAgirD
— Matt Thomas (@Trickyjabs) May 23, 2018
That's 7.4 million babies and 6.3 million migrants a year!
Are you really that dense?
— (((Dotski))) (@dotski_w) May 23, 2018
Wow! That means that in just 14 years time, most people on earth will be British.
— Choosefreedom.eu #FBPE (@EuChoosefreedom) May 23, 2018
6.3 million migrants every year equates to emptying a country the size of Turkey of its population every twelve years. Luckily, by 2218 there will be no countries left for anyone to migrate to the UK from because they'll all be here.*
*This is definitely likely to happen.
— Mike Sabot Bevan de Courcey, Mutineer #FBPE👞 (@MikeBevan_RG) May 23, 2018
“A simple mistake”
However, Woolfe was unabashed. The following afternoon, he tweeted a correction – but without deleting the original tweet.
This didn’t go down well either:
"Fifty minutes". Ah yes,that well known unit of time so often used for illustrating a point, so much more often than, say, "five minutes". I for one believe you,Steven.
— BeatCityTone (@BeatCityTone) May 23, 2018
You should probably take the original tweet down then. Wouldn't want to mislead people…
— Jim Leedham (@jimleedham) May 24, 2018
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Featured image via flickr/University of Salford