Positive Election Campaign Promised In Former Jo Cox Seat

All candidates running in Batley and Spen have pledged to run a campaign free of abuse.

The six candidates fighting for the Batley and Spen seat in next month’s General Election have pledged to run a “decent” campaign.

Ty Akram (Green Party), Tracy Brabin (Labour), Mark Brooks (Conservative), Paul Halloran (Independent), John Lawson (Liberal Democrat) and Clive Minihan (Brexit Party) have become the first in the country to sign the agreement.

The cross-party pledge vows to run an election campaign “free of abuse and intimidation”.

Kim Leadbeater, sister of the Labour MP Jo Cox who was murdered in 2016, said she hoped other candidates would follow suit.

She said: “I had hoped that the murder of my sister Jo would lead to a better way of doing politics, but sadly that hasn’t always been the case.

“So this is the opportunity for us here in Batley and Spen to send a clear message to the country about the kind of democracy we all want.”

The pledge was signed outside Jo Cox House in Batley, close to where the former MP was killed during the 2016 EU referendum campaign.

It commits the candidates 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

Kim added: “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, described the pledge signed in Batley as “a great first step”.

She added: “From our discussions with all the parties we know that they recognise the importance of restoring civility and respect to our public discourse.

“We look forward to working with them and with the committee to agree a long-term standard of behaviour.”

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