News: Batley and Spen Candidates Call for Respectful Election Campaign



All the candidates standing in the former constituency of murdered MP Jo Cox have become the first to sign a pledge for a respectful election campaign.




Jo’s sister, Kim Leadbeater, said she hoped candidates across the country would now follow the lead set by Batley and Spen.

This afternoon the candidates for Labour, the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats, the Brexit Party, Green Party and Independent candidate Paul Halloran promised to:

  •  Take responsibility for setting an appropriate tone when campaigning; 
  •  Lead by example to encourage and foster constructive democratic debate and tolerance of other points of view;
  •  Promote and defend the dignity of others, including political opponents, treating all with courtesy and respect.

They signed the pledge outside Jo Cox House in Batley Market Square close to where the former MP was murdered during the 2016 EU referendum campaign.

Joining them, Kim Leadbeater said:

“My sister believed in robust political debate, but she also believed that we can debate our differences without abuse or personal attacks. It means a great deal to my parents and me that the candidates here in the constituency that Jo loved so much have signed up to the kind of politics she represented.

“Here in Batley and Spen we know the price of hatred and political violence, but this is a call that I believe should be taken up by candidates all across the country. I hope desperately that in a few weeks time we will be able to look back on an election that upheld the standards of decency and respect that our democracy was once famous for and can be again.”

The Jo Cox Foundation is working with the Committee on Standards in Public Life to agree a Joint Standard of Conduct with all political parties that would apply not only during election campaigns but at all times.

Catherine Anderson, Chief Executive of the Foundation, said:  

“This pledge signed in Batley is a great first step. 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 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 agree a long-term standard of behaviour.”