Martin Whitfield MSP has welcomed the launch of the Jo Cox Civility Commission.

It has been tasked with developing practical recommendations to address the growing problem of abuse and intimidation in British politics.

With Baroness Gabrielle Bertin and Lord Vernon Coaker as co-chairs, the Commission will gather submissions and views on proposed solutions to the issue from participants across a wide range of sectors.

The Jo Cox Foundation has launched the commission following growing concerns about this issue. These have been intensified by the murders of Jo Cox and Sir David Amess, an increase in the number of death threats and threats of sexual violence reported by MPs and more local councillors reporting experiencing abuse and intimidation.

The Foundation is committed to finding solutions to abuse and intimidation in politics. It will use the Commission’s findings to produce recommendations and campaign for their adoption.

Commenting on the launch, Martin Whitfield MSP said:

“Abuse and intimidation in politics not only impacts on an individual, but also their family, colleagues, and the future pipeline of politicians. It is corrosive to our political discourse and increasingly one of the biggest threats to the future of democracy in the UK.

“We’ve seen the most extreme consequences of this growing toxicity in British politics with the tragic murders of first Jo Cox, and then Sir David Amess. But there is also a growing day to day level of abuse, including death threats and threats of sexual violence. This stains our entire political process and is becoming a barrier to those considering running for election.

“It’s time for the rhetoric about ending this kind of unacceptable abuse and intimidation to turn into real action, and to detoxify our politics. I warmly welcome the launch of this Commission to help inform and tackle the problem and encourage anyone who wants to help change the culture of our politics to get involved.” 

The public and organisations can take part in the Commission’s work by sending in a submission or helping raise awareness about its work. It is hoped that the recommendations will be published by the end of 2023.

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