Council signs Jo Cox Civility Pledge

Provost Debbi McCall and Midlothian Council Leader Cllr Kelly Parry

Provost Debbi McCall and Midlothian Council Leader Cllr Kelly Parry

The Council Leader, Provost and Chief Executive have signed a pledge on behalf of all Midlothian councillors to run a respectful election campaign. 

Defending the dignity of others

Councillor Kelly Parry, Provost Debbi McCall and Chief Executive Dr Grace Vickers endorsed the Jo Cox Civility campaign and pledge, which commits parties and candidates to set a respectful tone when campaigning, promote constructive debate and defend the dignity of others, including political opponents. 

Unanimous vote in favour

The move comes after councillors unanimously backed a motion by the Council Leader and Provost in support of the Jo Cox Foundation’s campaign to tackle all forms of abuse and intimidation against elected representatives. 

United in serving communities

Councillor Parry said: “I’m proud to say that in Midlothian, councillors from all parties understand that while we might not always agree with each other politically, we are united in our commitment to making life better for our communities. 

Without fear or harassment

“There’s so much more that connects than divides us and everyone has the right to express their views without fear of harassment or threat.” 

Improving procedures

Backing the motion, councillors also agreed a report would be considered by the Standing Orders Committee on how the council can improve risk planning for abuse at council meetings and other events. The report will also look at making sure staff and elected members can access security and wellbeing resources as well as toolkits such as the Government Association’s ‘Debate Not Hate’.

Partnership working

Meanwhile, further work will be done on how the council can work with organisations like COSLA, Elect Her and local organisations to remove barriers to elected office.  

Local support

The pledge, recommendations and information will be shared to all elected members and community councils.  

Politically-motivated death

Labour MP Jo Cox was murdered outside her constituency surgery in Birstall, near Leeds in 2016 because of her political beliefs a week before the EU referendum.  

Seven out of 10 councillors abused

Chief Executive of the Jo Cox Foundation Su Moore said: "In 2022, Local Government Association research found that seven out of 10 councillors had experienced abuse in the previous year. Abuse can make elected representatives feel they need to step down and put potential future candidates off standing altogether. We all have a responsibility to challenge this and we are pleased to hear that Midlothian councillors across all parties have signed the Civility Pledge and committed to running respectful election campaigns." 

21 May 2024