In July 2017, the Committee on Standards in Public Life (CSPL) was asked by the then Prime Minister, Theresa May, to undertake a review on the increasing prevalence of intimidation in public life. The CSPL is an independent, advisory body that advises the Prime Minister on arrangements for upholding ethical standards of conduct across public life in England. The CSPL regularly publishes a progress report on recommendations it made in the Intimidation in Public Life report.
We have worked closely with CSPL since 2019 to produce the Joint Statement on Conduct of Political Party Members, which sets out the minimum standards of behaviour that can be expected from members at all times for parties that have signed on. The statement is not intended to supersede or replace party codes of conduct or disciplinary processes, but to complement them by acting as a high-level statement of principle outlining the minimum standards of behaviour that all party members should aspire to.
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.
In the lead up to the 2019 General Election, we produced a General Election Pledge that candidates could share to show their commitment to a respectful campaign.
This #GE2019 we are calling on all candidates to participate in a respectful campaign. We encourage them to share this strong, positive message of kindness and #moreincommon. pic.twitter.com/jEALS0grKX— The Jo Cox Foundation (@JoCoxFoundation) November 19, 2019
The Election pledge was shared by hundreds of candidates from all political parties and gained over 1 million views on social media.
Batley & Spen
In the Batley & Spen, Jo Cox's constituency, the candidates for Labour, the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats, the Brexit Party, Green Party and Independent candidate Paul Halloran signed the election pledge and 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 Jo was murdered during the 2016 EU referendum campaign.
Kim Leadbeater, Jo's sister, 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.”