LONDON — Prime Minister Theresa May has launched an investigation into the intimidation and abuse experienced by candidates during the general election campaign.
The government has confirmed that it has requested the Committee on Standards in Public Life to conduct a review into the abuse numerous parliamentary candidates have said they suffered from members of the public in the run-up to the June 8 election.
“I have been horrified by stories from colleagues about the scale and nature of the intimidation, bullying and harassment they suffered during the general election campaign,”Prime Minister May said on Wednesday.
“Robust debate is a vital part of our democracy, but there can be no place for the shocking threats and abuse we have seen in recent months.
“We must all work together to banish this behaviour, and I would urge MPs and candidates from all parties to report their experiences to this review so we get the fullest possible picture — and can take the action required to stamp it out.”
A number of MPs have spoken out against abuse and intimidation they received while campaigning ahead of the snap election. Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston revealed last week that a masked man covered her constituency office with graffiti insults, while her colleague Sheryll Murray said swastikas and messages like “burn the witch” were carved into her election posters.
Guto Bebb and Simon Hart are among a handful of Tory MPs who have accused police officers of giving them abuse both online and in person, according to reports. Bebb claims a serving police officer emailed him to tell him: “While I still have an a***hole, I will campaign every day to get rid of you as an MP.”
The review is set to be announced to Westminster Hall today by Minister for the Constitution Chris Skidmore.
The MP for Kingswood said: “A cornerstone of our democracy is that everyone’s voice matters and no-one should be intimidated by abuse. We need to ensure that our democracy is a tolerant and inclusive one, in which all future candidates for election will not be dissuaded or intimidated from standing for public office.”
The Committee will set out how they will take forward the review in due course.
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