Press release

Intimidation in Public Life: CSPL publishes terms of reference and calls for evidence

The independent Committee on Standards in Public Life has today published the terms of reference for its review on the intimidation of parliamentary candidates, MPs and other public office holders, and invited anyone with an interest to submit evidence.


The Committee was asked to look at this issue by the Prime Minister and has today opened the call for evidence for the review. The review will:

  • Examine the nature of the problem and consider whether measures already in place to address such behaviour are satisfactory to protect the integrity of public service; and whether such measures are (a) effective, especially given the rise of social media, and (b) enforceable;
  • Produce a report for the Prime Minister, including recommendations for action focused on what could be done in the short- and long-term and identifying examples of good practice.

The Committee will also consider the broader implications for other candidates for public office and other public office holders. The review will recognise the important role of legitimate scrutiny of those standing for public office by the public and the press.

The Committee has published its call for evidence, and invites submissions from anyone with an interest in these issues. The Committee will also be contacting campaigning organisations, political parties and social media companies to ask for their views on how best to address these issues.

Lord Bew, Chair of the Committee said:

The intimidation of candidates, MPs and other public office holders matters to everyone, not just those who have been subject to it. Public life and parliamentary democracy needs people from a diverse range of backgrounds to be willing to step forward. Abuse and intimidation cannot be acceptable within our political culture; we want to hear views on how to address this without stifling the robust debate or differences of opinion that are fundamental to our democracy.

The Committee will be considering all evidence we receive and intend to produce a report with recommendations before Christmas.

Notes to Editors

  1. Interview requests and media enquiries should go to Maggie O’Boyle on 07880 740627.
  2. The 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.
Published 24 July 2017