Unions encourage political leaders to make prejudice a no-go area in the election
7 April 2015
A coalition of public figures, trade unions and civil society groups have urged politicians to ensure the coming general election is not a playground for racial prejudice.
The coalition has asked political 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 including the NUJ, Unite, UNISON, PCS, GMB, USDAW, NUT and NASUWT. 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.
The coalition statement says:
"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 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 and the initiative was organised by Race Equality Matters (REM), a network of policy experts, lawyers, academics, journalists and campaigners who have come together to promote race equality and good race relations.
- Equality and Human Rights Commission Guidance on Freedom of Speech
- Equality and Human Rights Commission Guidance on Equality and Human Rights Law during an Election