Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Wednesday 27 May 2009

Update to MP expenses scandal and safe seats correlation

Further to my previous posts from a week and a half ago here and here which looked at the MPs who had been implicated in the expenses scandal by the Telegraph and seemed to find a correlation between the safety of the seat the MP held and the likelihood of being involved, I have gone through the data again using the latest available list from the Telegraph. The link to this is here although it changes daily and may well be out of date by the time you read this (although I have saved it locally myself). The source data about the MPs is from the 2005 election and from Keele University here.

The last time I did the work a week and a half ago only 94 MPs had been implicated. As of today there are 243 so there is more data to work with.

I have posted the results below but first I just want to again caveat all of this. I am not a statistician and I know that we don't have all the data yet. If you read through the comments on the previous threads you will see some people say that there are problems with the approach or method and that things like confounding variables are not taken account of. There are also some comments from people who think the approach is OK. I accept that my approach is fairly blunt and is by no means to final word, however I have had a number of queries from people asking if I have done an updated version of this as the previous one is now well out of date, hence the new post.

Right, here are the results:

The median number is now 287.7. It has drifted back towards the median from 262.4 previously.

The graph now looks like this:

There is still an increase in each quartile but it is less pronounced than previously. There is still quite a stark difference though between the bottom and the top quartile with the top having almost twice as many as the bottom and now with more source data to work from.

One of the objections previously was that the Telegraph were bound to focus on the most newsworthy MPs first, but almost 3 weeks on that effect must surely have dissipated as they ran out of newsworthy ones. I certainly found myself doing this update wondering who a lot of the newly added MPs are. I hadn't heard of lots of them!

Right, I think this is the last time I will post on this now. I think I have found an interesting effect albeit with potential problems. I have had a few e-mails from people asking for the source data and I will respond to these soon but with this latest data (I held off responding because it was quite out of date by the time the requests started). Anyone else who wants it, please e-mail me at the e-mail address at the top. I would like to see others take this forward and also for someone to come up with a decent way of analysing this effect once all the data had been released. I will be interested to see what other people can find about this.


Anonymous said...

Would take too long to work out but what about the amount of money paid back v safe seats or claimed incorrectly

Anonymous said...