#StopTheNastiness campaign backed by MPs to halt abuse in election campaign

A new movement to stop abuse in politics during the general election campaign has been launched, with the backing of prominent MPs.

The #StopTheNastiness launch by think tank Compassion in Politics comes amid an increasingly hostile political environment, in which female MPs in particular are being subjected to threats of violence and intimidation.

The campaign calls on "all candidates to take a stand against the toxicity in politics by pledging to campaign with respect, call out hateful language and promote compassion."

MPs from across the political spectrum have backed the campaign, including politicians from Labour, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, SNP and the Greens.

StopTheNastiness also has the support from faith groups, Muslim Council of Britain and Jewish Council for Race Equality.

Members of the public will be encouraged to call out hate online by simply responding using the hashtag #StopTheNastiness.

The coalition is also making available badges and stickers carrying the slogan for canvassers to wear while out campaigning.

Jennifer Nadel, Co-Director of Compassion in Politics, said: "As a nation, this election gives us an opportunity to end the division and intimidation that has become a feature of our political life.

"We as individuals can make sure that we don’t speak in ways that cause others harm and insist that all those running for election do the same.

"Abusive and bullying language wouldn’t be tolerated in classrooms, colleges and places of work and it shouldn’t be tolerated in politics."

Liberal Democrats leader Jo Swinson has pledged her support for the campaign. Credit: PA

The organisations behind it say tensions over Brexit and the recent examples of highly-charged language used in Parliament could mean this election is one of the most divisive in living memory, unless politicians and the media take action.

Nicky Morgan MP cited the abuse she suffered in her job as one of the reasons why she is stepping down from Parliament.

Liberal Democrats' Heidi Allen has also chosen not to stand in the general election, as she said she had suffered "utterly dehumanising" abuse.

The #StopTheNastiness campaign has the support from leading MPs, including Liberal Democrats leader Jo Swinson, Ms Allen, Caroline Lucas, Jess Philips, Tulip Siddiq, Baroness Warsi, Ian Blackford, Rosie Duffield and Chuka Umunna.

Baroness Warsi said: "I know far too many colleagues in Parliament – women, especially – who worry what the repercussions might be for them and their families when they speak their mind and vote with their conscious. This is not the signs of a healthy democracy.

“Now is the time to hit the reset button...Never has the need been greater.”

While Ms Duffield urged every candidate to pledge their support to the #StopTheNastiness campaign.

“Behaviour that is tolerated in politics would be considered obscene in any other walk of life," she said.

"Verbal and physical threats. Xenophobia. Sexism. Bullying and intimidation. We were meant to be wiping these from the face of our society - instead we’ve allowed politics to become their breeding ground.

"We must band together in solidarity and partnership to neutralise hate and model a new and better form of politics."