Brandon Lewis challenges Labour to follow Tory lead and suspend candidates for abusive language
New Tory chairman Brandon Lewis has called on the Labour party to crackdown on abuse in politics by pledging to suspend candidate who breach a new code of conduct.
Mr Lewis, who replaced outgoing Conservative party chair Patrick McLoughlin in last week’s government reshuffle, challenged Jeremy Corbyn to tackle the ‘rot’ of violent language being used by senior political figures.
He announced a new ‘respect pledge’ which all Tory candidates will have to sign up to, binding them to “behave responsibly” throughout the election process, and urged Mr Corbyn to follow suit.
Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, he said: “We will be drafting up a pledge. All our candidates will sign up to that pledge to behave responsibly and show respect online during elections.
“And I expect that Jeremy Corbyn’s on TV this morning I think and he should be coming out and stand up to this…
“If people, our candidates, in the elections this year breach that code and there is evidence they have breached that responsibility pledge we will suspend them and I call on the Labour party to stand up and make the same statement.”
Mr Lewis also criticised John McDonnell for previous remarks in which he referred to Tory MP Esther McVey being lynched and called her a “stain on humanity.”
Mr Lewis said: “When we have got people at top of the party, of the Labour party, the Shadow Chancellor, using the kind of actions and language and behaviour they are and endorsing threats against other MPs, physical threats… He has not apologised for that he has simply condoned that.
When it was put to him that Mr McDonnell maintains that he was merely repeating comments made by others, he replied: “If you look at the recording that is what he actually said.”
“We have got to make sure is that almost at the very top of the party, we avoid this rot that we are seeing at the top of the Labour party, and we actually show that at the very top we will use respect. We will argue our case robustly, but with respect.”