Call for urgent reform of electoral law relating to threats

By agency reporter
May 29, 2019

The Electoral Commission, Jess Phillips MP and The Fawcett Society have called for urgent reform to electoral laws, following Jess Phillips being subjected to abuse by a political party candidate. Currently, the law does not disqualify candidates with a track record of issuing threats from standing for elected office.

Joint statement from the Electoral Commission, Fawcett Society and Jess Phillips:

"On the eve of the European elections, Jess Phillips MP, the Electoral Commission and the Fawcett Society met to discuss the serious concerns raised by Jess Phillips’ recent experiences, namely that someone who had made threats of rape and violence against her was selected as a candidate by a political party.

"We agree that our electoral laws are out of date and need urgent reform. It is time for governments and political parties to commit to the urgent need for comprehensive change and prioritise the time and resources needed to deliver meaningful improvement.

“If action is not taken urgently, we run the risk of discouraging good candidates from standing and of undermining the trust and confidence that voters place in our system.”

Following a petition with 93,000 signatures and rising, Fawcett published an open letter to Prime Minister Theresa May urging her to act to end the abuse of women in politics and public life. 

The letter is co-signed by a range of individuals and women’s and equality organisations, including campaigner Helen Pankhurst, Stonewall, Muslim Women’s Network, ActionAid and the Jo Cox Foundation.  Cross-party political support comes from Jess Phillips MP, Nicky Morgan MP, Liberal Democrat Peer Lynne Featherstone, Amelia Womack, Deputy Leader of the Green Party and Harini Iyengar of the Women’s Equality Party.

* Fawcett have published a Q&A document which summarises legislation as it currently stands and and details why it is proposing a lifetime ban. Read the document here

* Read the open letter here

* The Fawcett Society


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