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Leading Conservative calls for smarter approach to evidence

Bernard Jenkin, Conservative MP and chairman of the Public Administration Committee, has said he is “sceptical” about a drive among many civil servants to make “everything based on evidence”.

Jenkin was speaking at the event What Works? How do we get more evidence informed policy? at the Conservative party conference on 1 October. He argued that many political questions were not evidence-based but instead were very emotional issues.

For example, while there is evidence to show that the death penalty is an inefficient way of controlling crime, the vast majority of people would vote in favour of it in a referendum, he claimed. Other such emotional areas include the UK’s place in Europe and badger culls, for which he said the evidence is “absolutely tsunami overwhelming”.

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