The UK Government’s new Elections Bill introduces a new penalty for anyone found guilty of intimidating candidates, campaigners or elected representatives.
Anyone found guilty of this behaviour could be banned from standing for elected office for five years.
This is in addition to punishments already in place for those guilty of existing intimidation offences, such as common assault, harassment, and the use of threatening language.
There has been increasing concern at recent elections about intimidating and threatening behaviour towards candidates and campaigners.
Following the 2019 UK general election, more than half of the candidates we spoke to said they were concerned about standing for election because of the risk of intimidation, threats and abuse. Three quarters of respondents said that they had experienced this behaviour.
It is vital that action is taken against those who abuse, threaten or intimidate candidates and campaigners. This behaviour cannot be allowed to discourage people from standing for election or campaigning.
Banning someone from standing for elected office, as well as imposing criminal sanctions, such as a prison sentence or fine, will strengthen the deterrent against this intimidating behaviour.