Press Release

Electing without Prejudice: the media release

PARTY LEADERS CHALLENGED TO MAKE PREJUDICE A NO-GO AREA IN GENERAL ELECTION
Thursday 2 April 2015
Don’t let the coming general election be a playground for racial prejudice: that was the call today to Britain’s political party leaders from a wide ranging coalition of public figures, trade unions and civil society movements.
They are asking the party leaders to guarantee that their campaigns and those of their candidates ‘do not take actions or use words likely to generate prejudice or hostility between groups’.
Among the organisations endorsing the call are the TUC as well as trade unions such as Unite, UNISON, PCS, GMB, USDAW, NUT, NASUWT and NUJ individually. Among others involved are the Runnymede Trust, Race on the Agenda, Operation Black Vote, Institute of Race Relations, Southall Black Sisters, End Violence Against Women, All Different All Equal (Wales), Catholic Association for Racial Justice, Hindu Council UK, the Muslim Council of Britain, the Jewish Council for Race Equality, The Refugee Council, Scottish Refugee Council and the Migrants Rights Network.
In the House of Lords, Lord Ouseley, former chair of the Commission for Racial Equality, Baroness Doreen Lawrence, Lord Dholakia, a past President of the Liberal Democrats, Baroness Warsi, past co-Chair of the Conservative Party, Baroness Ushar Prashar, Lord Avebury and Lord Adebowale have also put their names to the appeal, Electing without Prejudice: Free speech, Hard facts, Real debate.
It warns that ‘racism, racial hatred, prejudice and misunderstanding are serious dangers in Britain today. We call on all who have a role to play in ensuring that our elections are fair and truly free, to join us in supporting this call for an election campaign rid of the exploitation of prejudice.’
‘There should be vigorous debate around the issues facing Britain today in an atmosphere that is secure and open so that all electors feel able to take part in discussing issues, challenging candidates and gaining an understanding of their different approaches’, the statement adds.
Lord Ouseley, Lord Dholakia and Baroness Warsi have written to leaders of political parties formally inviting them to put their names to the commitments contained in the statement.
‘There should be only one no-go area in British politics,’ they said. ‘The exploitation or promotion of prejudice for party political gain should be ruled out. We want politicians, public bodies, organisations and influential private individuals to join us working for an election debate in which political policies and not the politics of prejudice decide who wins.’
The statement builds on the work of the former Commission for Racial Equality which, in previous general and other election campaigns, brought political party leaders together to make similar commitments.

Notes for editors:
The text of the statement, supporting guidance and names of those supporting the call are available at https://raceequalitymatters.org/
Attached:
The letter to Natalie Bennett, David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Ed Miliband, Nicola Sturgeon, and Leanne Wood
Two relevant documents available from the Equality and Human Rights Commission are:
Guidance on Freedom of Speech:
http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/publication/freedom-expression-legal-framework
Guidance on Equality and Human Rights Law during an Election Period at:
http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/commission-publishes-election-guidance

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