Lifetime ban from standing for elected office for those who promote rape or violence

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Sam Smethers
Sam Smethers signed this petition

Evidence shows that on social media women face repeated threats of rape and sexual assault.  Black and minority ethnic people are disproportionately targeted with hate speech, violence and abuse. Women candidates at local and national level are particularly targeted. We know that this is deterring some women from standing. Yet some of those responsible for issuing these threats have then gone on to stand for election themselves.

Surely anyone who issues threats of rape of violence or who incites hatred is not fit to stand for elected office? Yet our law currently permits it and only disqualifies those with a criminal record, on grounds of bankruptcy or corrupt electoral practices (eg re political donations).  This means candidates with a track record of abusive conduct can still end up on the ballot paper.

By inviting the electorate to vote for them we are endorsing and legitimising their conduct. This has to change. We at the Fawcett Society are calling for a lifetime ban from standing for elected office to apply in these cases. It is time to defend our democracy and promote equality, not hate. Please add your name in support if you agree.