Thomas Davies, Chairman, Cities of London & Westminster Conservative Association;
Keith Single, Chairman, Dover & Deal Conservative Association
Dear Mr Davies and Mr Single,
RE: Deselecting MPs with unresolved allegations of violence
Earlier this year the Rt. Hon. Brandon Lewis MP wrote to you about the importance of tackling discrimination and abuse at every level of the Conservative Party. Mark Field MP was filmed grabbing a peaceful activist by the neck and pushing her into a pillar, and Charlie Elphicke MP has been charged with three counts of sexual assault. I am writing to implore you not to reselect these men as candidates at the next general election.
Male violence against women and girls is endemic in the UK. A quarter of women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime and more than 85,000 women are raped every year. Despite an increase in reporting, the proportion of cases that result in a charge has decreased significantly and support services have been cut to the bone. The failure to hold violent men to account sends the message that violence is inevitable, women’s safety doesn’t matter, and that perpetrators can act with impunity.
The Prime Minister last week sacked 21 Conservative MPs for voting to stop a no-deal Brexit that will hurt women further still. I’m sure you will agree that MPs should face at least the same consequences for violence as they do for failing to toe the party line (or claiming expenses for duck houses, for example). Indeed the Code of Conduct for Conservative Party Representatives states clearly that MPs must “not use their position to bully, abuse, victimise, harass or unlawfully discriminate against others.” Yet not one MP has lost their seat for sexual harassment or violence.
The Women’s Equality Party is calling for the Recall Act to be amended so that MPs found guilty of sexual harassment or violence by an independent investigation can be removed by their constituents. Until that happens we will be standing five survivors against five MPs with unresolved allegations of violence and harassment against them. I am asking you, as an officer of the Conservative Party, to force reselections in Cities of London & Westminster and Dover - in order to hold these MPs to account for their actions.
Violence is not inevitable and it is within our power to do something about it.
Leader of the Women’s Equality Party