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7 in 10 councillors faced abuse and intimidation in the past year, survey finds

SEVEN out of 10 councillors say they have experienced abuse and intimidation in the past year, a survey by the Local Government Association (LGA) has found. 

Responses suggest local politicians are facing growing levels of intimidation, the LGA said, including cases of physical abuse such as spitting, with one in 10 also reported experiencing abuse “often,” according to its report, published today. 

This has led to some having to seek medical advice for depression and anxiety, while others reported not feeling able to leave their homes unaccompanied. 

Of the councillors who responded to the call for evidence, 88 per cent said they had experienced abuse and intimidation in the past 12 months, while 76 per reported witnessing such abuse. 

Following the murders of MPs Jo Cox and David Amess, 72 per cent of councillors said they had taken action to avoid harm, including installing home security equipment. 

Despite the growing threat to councillors’ safety, the LGA said they have little power to deter perpetrators; requirements for councillors to publish their home address has left many feeling vulnerable, it said. 

The body is urging government to prioritise a change in the law so that councillors are allowed to withhold their home address from the public register. 

LGA chairman Cllr James Jamieson said: “We need to see concrete action to protect current councillors and ensure potential future councillors feel safe to stand for election. 

“Anyone, regardless of their background or political affiliation, should feel safe and proud to represent their community.”   

Yesterday Labour MP Stella Creasy reported an attack on her constituency office in Walthamstow, north-east London.

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