Posted: Wed 2nd Feb 2022

Wales’s 22 council leaders call for “fair and respectful election campaign” in face of growing abuse

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Feb 2nd, 2022

Council leaders across Wales have called on all councillors and candidates at May’s local elections to “commit to a fair and respectful election campaign.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

They have also said there is an increasing number of councillors and candidates “being subjected to abuse, threats and intimidation.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

A joint statement issued by the leaders of Wales’ 22 councils says: “We are all too familiar with the abuse we see in our inboxes, on our social media feeds or see and hear on our streets or, worse, at our homes. ” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Politics should focus on facts and respectful debate about differences of policy or priorities, not insults or intolerance, misinformation or misogyny, discrimination or division.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“We are committed to attracting more diverse people to consider standing for election. We need to reassure and support those candidates who are newer to democratic life, those who are conscious they are in the minority or have already experienced discrimination.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“The council elections are about people who just want to contribute and who want to make a positive difference to our communities.” The statement adds. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The council leaders say that “unfortunately, we are seeing an increasing number of councillors and candidates being subjected to abuse, threats and intimidation.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“As well as being totally unacceptable, this behaviour undermines the principles of free speech, democratic engagement and debate.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“We therefore endeavour to treat everyone with courtesy, kindness and respect and, as leaders, we stand together to call for an end to abuse, intimidation and harassment of any kind. This is particularly relevant as we enter the key period in the run up to the local government elections in May.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

They have pledged to “participate in a fair election campaign which is based on positive campaigning and merit, rather than personal attacks and smears against individuals.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“We encourage all elected members and candidates in the forthcoming election to do the same. In addition, we will publicly ‘call out’ any such inappropriate behaviour and take a zero-tolerance approach to abuse.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“We all have the right to carry out our civic duties without fear of being attacked or abused.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Collectively they warn that “any inappropriate behaviour, whether that be verbal, physical or in writing on social media, is totally unacceptable and action will be taken if deemed necessary.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Thousands of 16 and 17-year-olds across Flintshire will have the chance to vote for the first time this year in the council elections. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The local elections for the County council and for Town/Community councils are being held on Thursday, 5 May. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Anyone aged 16 and over will be able to cast their vote for who they want to represent them as their local councillor. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

It is the first council election to have taken place since 2017. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Flintshire Council has said: “We all want to see positive change in Wales. But, for democracy to work for everyone, we need young people in Wales to get involved.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“That’s why we’re joining other councils in calling for young people across Wales to engage with democracy and have their voices heard. ” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Flintshire’s Returning Officer, Neal Cockerton, said: ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“If you’re 16 or over, you can now have your say on what happens in Wales in the future by getting involved and using your vote. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Democracy impacts everything around you. So, whatever you’re passionate about, voting in the next local council elections is a great way to get involved.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

To find out more about how you can put your views to good use, head to: gov.wales/use-your-views. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

There is also more information here. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

In order to have your say, and make your voice heard, you need to register to vote.  You can register on-line by visiting gov.uk/register-to-vote. You will need your National Insurance number, and it only takes a few minutes. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

You should have received your National Insurance number a couple of months before you turned 16. You will need to provide your National insurance number in other circumstances in the future, for example when you get a job, so it is something that needs to be kept safe. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Assistance in locating your National Insurance number can be found at gov.uk/lost-national-insurance-number or by telephoning the National Insurance Number Helpline on 0300 200 3500. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​


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