The Jo Cox Foundation’s vision is for a kinder, more compassionate society where every individual has a sense of belonging and where we recognise that we have more in common than that which divides us. Building a better public life is a key part of our work to continue Jo Cox’s legacy.
We have identified abuse and intimidation as major barriers to achieving a civil public life in which all people, regardless of their background, can participate equally.
Political debate underpins our democratic process. The freedom to engage in debate and disagree with others is a key component of public life. Sometimes though, it can go too far.
Over 50 MPs stood down at the 2019 UK General Election, many saying this was at least in part due to abuse they had received. Women, in particular, suffer a disproportionate level of unacceptable behaviour. We all have a responsibility to challenge such behaviour, whether in public or in private. The 2021 Elections provide a valuable opportunity for candidates to reject intimidation and abuse and shape the tone of political discourse.
We’ve designed this pledge to support you in delivering a respectful campaign.
1. Pledge for a respectful campaign
Robust debate and scrutiny are essential aspects of public life; abuse and intimidation shouldn’t have to be. The pledge below draws on the wording of the Joint Statement on conduct for political party members, highlighting the need for a respectful campaign that fosters democratic debate and upholds the dignity of all candidates.
Please share the pledge using the template social media post and graphics below:
“In the lead up to the elections on the 6th May, I am taking the @JoCoxFoundation’s pledge to campaign with civility and respect – spreading Jo Cox’s strong, positive message of kindness and #moreincommon.”
Download the Graphics:
Share your pledge through a video
We also encourage you to share a video pledging your support. We recommend following these guidelines when filming:
- Film in portrait mode (‘selfie-style’, use a tripod or have someone film it for you)
- 20-30 seconds works best for social media
- State your name, party and the position you’re running for
- You may wish to read the pledge or talk about the following:
- Why making the pledge is important to you
- Why ending abuse and intimidation in public life is important
- What a safer/ less abusive public life means to you
2. Joint Statement on Conduct of political party members
Following recommendations made in the Committee on Standards in Public Life (CSPL) 2017 Intimidation in Public Life review, the Foundation and the CSPL have worked closely to produce the Joint Statement on Conduct for political party members. The Statement sets out the minimum standards of behaviour expected from members at all times for parties that have signed on and complements party codes of conduct and disciplinary processes as a high-level statement of principle. We are delighted to have support so far from Labour, the Liberal Democrats, The Green Party of England and Wales, Plaid Cymru and the SNP. You can read more about the Joint Statement on our website and social media channels.
3. Guidance for Candidates: When it goes too far
The Joint Guidance for Candidates in Elections, has been co-produced by the Electoral Commission, CPS, NPCC and the College of Policing has information with input from organisations including The Jo Cox Foundation. The guide can be referred to when campaigning should you face abuse and intimidation. We recommend reading this guide – which includes information on contacting the police, protecting yourself, family and colleagues and specific legislative guidance – so that you are prepared should any instances of abuse arise.