County Council supports bid to tackle abuse and intimidation towards local councillors

West Sussex County Council has pledged its support to the national Debate Not Hate campaign, which aims to challenge the normalisation of abuse against councillors and uphold exemplary standards of democratic debate.

A recent meeting of the Council’s Governance Committee agreed that the County Council should join the Local Government Authority’s (LGA) campaign after it heard that seven in ten councillors nationally have reported experiencing abuse and intimidation in the last 12 months, with one in ten saying they experience abuse frequently.

The LGA introduced the Debate Not Hate initiative in October 2021 as a response to the inappropriate behaviour that councillors and local politicians across the country experience. And to raise public awareness of the role of councillors in their communities, encourage healthy debate and improve the support for local councillors facing abuse and intimidation.

Councillor Pete Bradbury, County Council Chairman and Governance Committee Chair, said: “County councillors across the political spectrum at Governance Committee agreed that we should take a stand against any form of abuse and hate, whether on social media or in person. It is important to remember that councillors are human beings who volunteer their time to champion the areas and people they represent.

“We recognise that democracy thrives on healthy debates and frank discussions but stand firm in challenging any form of personal intimidation and abuse. I have signed the public statement on behalf of West Sussex County Council and encourage other councillors to do the same.”

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