Press release

Intimidation in Public Life: a joint approach to tackling intimidation

The Jo Cox Foundation to work with political parties on a joint approach to tackling intimidation.

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Lord Evans, Chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, has today written to the leaders of all Westminster parties to say that The Jo Cox Foundation will act as independent support in efforts to agree a cross-party approach to tackling intimidation.

This follows the Committee’s previous meetings with the parties to follow up the recommendations made in its 2017 report on intimidation in public life.

Lord Evans said:

“I am delighted that The Jo Cox Foundation has undertaken to act as independent support to help make further progress towards a common approach to tackle intimidation and abuse during election campaigns.

“It is important to democracy that individuals standing for public office or campaigning are able to so without fear of intimidation. From our meetings with them, it’s clear that the political parties have done a great deal of work internally to address intimidatory behaviour and improve their own processes to call out and address unacceptable behaviour where they can. Building on that, there is goodwill and commitment from the political parties at Westminster to make further joint progress.”

Catherine Anderson, Chief Executive of The Jo Cox Foundation, said:

“Jo’s murder in 2016 is a constant reminder to us that the threat of violence and intimidation towards MPs, candidates or anybody else in public life can never be acceptable. We all value vigorous political debate and freedom of speech but that should not extend to abusive behaviour designed to intimidate and silence people. It threatens our democracy itself. From our regular discussions with all the parties we know that they recognise the importance of restoring civility and respect to our public discourse and we look forward to working with them and with the committee to find an agreement on how this can be achieved.”

Download the Committee’s 2017 report on intimidation in public life

Notes to Editors

  1. Interview requests and media enquiries should go to Maggie O’Boyle on 07880 740627.
  2. The independent Committee on Standards in Public Life advises the Prime Minister on ethical standards across the whole of public life in the UK. It monitors and reports on issues relating to the standards of conduct of all public office holders. To find out more about the Committee’s work go to https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/the-committee-on-standards-in-public-life
  3. The current members of the Committee are: Lord (Jonathan) Evans, Chairman, Rt Hon Dame Margaret Beckett DBE MP (Labour), Simon Hart MP (Conservative), Dr Jane Martin CBE, Dame Shirley Pearce DBE, Jane Ramsey, Monisha Shah and Rt Hon Lord (Andrew) Stunell OBE (Liberal Democrat).
  4. You can follow the Committee on twitter @PublicStandards.
Published 21 May 2019