General election 2019: Jo Cox constituency rivals pledge 'clean campaign'

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Media caption,
Jo Cox's sister campaigned for a better spirit of political campaigning in Batley

All candidates standing in murdered MP Jo Cox's former constituency have signed a pledge to run their election campaigns without fear or intimidation.

The code of conduct was signed in Market Square, Batley, close to where Ms Cox was shot and stabbed in 2016.

Her sister, Kim Leadbeater, said she hoped candidates across the country would follow their lead.

"Here in Batley and Spen we know the price of hatred and political violence," 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 by Batley and Spen candidates:

  • Tracy Brabin (Labour)
  • Mark Brooks (Conservative)
  • Paul Halloran (Independent)
  • John Lawson (Liberal Democrat)
  • Clive Minihan (Brexit Party)
  • Ty Akram (Green Party) could not attend but Simon Cope (Green Party, Dewsbury), signed in his absence

Candidates have agreed 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; and promote and defend the dignity of others, including political opponents, treating all with courtesy and respect.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Jo Cox was murdered in 2016 in Birstall, West Yorkshire

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."

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