Elected Representatives Deserve to be Safe
Elected Representatives Deserve to be Safe

This week the Jo Cox Civility Commission were in Parliament to launch their call to action on tackling abuse and intimidation in politics.

As the report states, “abuse and intimidation of our elected representatives – including violence towards them – is one of the biggest threats to our democracy in the UK.”

Run by the Jo Cox Foundation, the call to action identifies a number of practical recommendations of changes we can implement, from central government, to policing, and social media.

The levels of harassment and abuse politicians face will mean fewer people putting themselves forward as candidates. In particular, this will discourage the diversity of candidates we need.

We know that abuse disproportionately impacts women, as well as those from minority ethnic backgrounds, LGBTQ+ people, and disabled people.
The need for action is urgent. Of the local councillors surveyed, 88% had experienced abuse and intimidation. As MPs, we too regularly face serious threats. ITV Wales found that 80% of Welsh MPs and Senedd Members have felt threatened since being in office, while 43% have received a death threat.

Politics should always be about the debate of ideas. Robust political debate is something we should be proud of, but far too much political discourse drifts beyond the acceptable rough and tumble of politics, into abuse and intimidation. This impacts not just on politicians, but also our families and our staff, and discourages people from getting involved in politics in the first place.

I warmly welcome this action plan, and the continued work that the Jo Cox Foundation does to tackle abuse and intimidation in politics, reminding us that there is more in common than that which divides us.

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