North West Leicestershire election worker calls for respect - after 'vile and personal attacks' against candidates

By Graham Hill

6th Jul 2024 | Local News

Gurkirat Sandhu was part of Craig Smith's team during the electon campaign. Photo: Supplied
Gurkirat Sandhu was part of Craig Smith's team during the electon campaign. Photo: Supplied

A North West Leicestershire election campaign worker has voiced his concerns about the amount of online abuse directed at candidates during the campaign.

Gurkirat Sandhu was part of the Conservative representative Craig Smith's team in the run-up to Thursday's vote.

But he says there have been 'vile and personal attacks' against candidates from all parties over the past few weeks.

Mr Sandhu is now concerned that the prospect of dealing with social media abuse may put people off standing for office in future elections.

He told Coalville Nub News: "Since the election campaign officially began, I've noticed an increase in a very sad trend on social media.

"Horrendous messages, filled with vile and personal attacks, being directed at candidates from all parties.

"These messages go beyond a healthy debate and quite frankly, enter the territory of bullying and harassment."

Mr Sandhu says Mr Smith and Amanda Hack, the Labour candidate who won the seat by just over 1,000 votes, both suffered at the hands of insulting social media remarks.

He added: "It's essential to remember that candidates, regardless of their political affiliations or views, are human beings.

Craig Smith stood as the Conservative Party candidate. Photo: Supplied

"They have families, friends and, yes feelings too which a lot of people seem to forget.

"Running for public office is a challenge, and it requires courage and commitment. When we attack them personally, we undermine the very foundation of our democracy."

Mr Sandhu makes it clear there is nothing wrong with challenging candidates with constructive comments, but says that, too often, people cross the line in terms of common decency.

He added: "Healthy debate and critical discussions are an important part of democracy, we can and should hold our candidates accountable for their policies and actions.

"However, this must be done with respect and compassion.

"Personal attacks and abusive language do nothing but make great candidates think twice about serving their communities.

Amanda Hack won the North West Leicestershire seat. Photo: Coalville Nub News

"As voters, we have a responsibility to engage in respectful dialogue. Disagreeing with a candidate's views is normal, but it should be done with decency and consideration. Let's focus on the issues at hand and the future of our community, rather than resorting to name-calling and threats.

"Candidates are stepping up to serve the public, often at great personal and professional cost.

"They deserve our respect and our thanks for their willingness to participate in the democratic process.

Always remember, they are people too - by doing so, we strengthen our democracy and ensure that it remains a space where ideas and policies can be discussed openly and respectfully." 

     

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