dominic raab pushed for a kinder form of politics in the commons on monday, as broadcasters asked him if the intense rivalry between mps influenced the level of hate the parliamentarians receive from the public.
the justice secretary and deputy prime minister was explaining how mps need more protection in the aftermath of sir david amess’ murder when sky’s kay burley asked: “it doesn’t help when politicians call each other things like ‘scum’, doesn’t it?”
the presenter was referring to comments from labour’s deputy leader angela rayner, who called the conservative party “tory scum” in september.
raab said: “i don’t think it does, and i know what you’re referring to.
“but it’s incumbent on all of us [to change politics].”
presenter julia hartley-brewer later asked a similar question when she said: “how important is it that mps don’t go around calling each other scum?”
raab told talkradio: “since 2010, i’ve noticed the coarsening of political debate and the big shift has been more personal attacks rather than dealing with the substance of the debate, and the policy issue or the approach.
“i think it’s incumbent on all of us engaged in individual debate to get back to a more respectful [discourse].”
touching on his own love for martial arts, raab said: “we were always taught you were very respectful to your opponent even if you were engaged in the competitive sport.
“and i look at david amess, and if there’s one thing we need to bottle from his example, it is – yes he was tenacious, he was catholic, a brexiteer with strong values, a conviction politician, an essex man, mr southend – but he had an empathy about him.”
the deputy prime minister also called on others within the commons to emulate amess’ example.
speaker of the commons lindsay hoyle also told burley that politics needs to change in the wake of amess’ death.
he said: “it’s about nicer politics, it’s about reflecting.
“i don’t want people to agree with each other if they’ve got differences.
“it’s how we express those differences by making sure we take the hate, the anger, the nastiness out of it.”
he continued: “everyone should have that right to become a politician – the barrier of the hate has to be taken away.
“we know that language is everything. if we’re nicer to each other, i’m sure the public will respond the same way.”