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by Jack Thomson
26 April 2021
Charles Kennedy's brother-in-law calls for zero-tolerance approach to abuse during campaign

Charles Kennedy suffered "abhorrent" online abuse

Charles Kennedy's brother-in-law calls for zero-tolerance approach to abuse during campaign

Charles Kennedy's brother-in-law has joined the Scottish Liberal Democrats in calling for a zero-tolerance approach to abuse during the last full week of the election campaign. 

The former Lib-Dem leader died in 2015, following a torrent of online abuse during the 2015 general election campaign in which he lost his seat. 

The intervention, dubbed the 'Kennedy Commitment', follows an incident at the Scottish Liberal Democrat HQ, where staff were shaken after a brick was thrown at the office. 

Willie Rennie, Scottish Lib-Dems leader, said he was "thankful" for the solidarity shown by other leaders following the incident. 

He has urged all candidates to “show the best of Scotland, come together and unite against any and all abuse.” 

In an open letter to the Scottish party leaders, Rennie and James Gurling have urged all parties make a commitment to publicly challenge and denounce derogatory, untrue, or hateful messages on social media, disagree well and treat political opponents, journalists and the public with respect, and run an honest campaign.

Rennie, said: "The public deserve politicians who are able to turn a page in Scottish politics. I am therefore urging all the parties to show the best of Scotland, come together and unite against any and all abuse. 

"Charles Kennedy was well known for disagreeing well with political opponents. I hope every candidate can sign up to this commitment in his name and live by it, not just for the election, but for their whole political life." 

Kennedy’s brother-in-law, Gurling, said: "The reaction to BBC Alba’s recent documentary reminds us how missed Charles is but also how abhorrent people of all political persuasions thought the online abuse was. We must never go back to those old divisions. 

"With social media playing an increasingly prominent role in elections, politicians can show they have learned the lessons of the past and send a clear message of the value we hold in open, honest and respectful debate."

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