Tool to challenge anti-Gypsyism in politics

An MP or member of the House of Lords from the Labour Party made a discriminatory comment.

The Labour Party are meant to hold their members to account if they say and do things that go against what's written in the Code of Conduct. Each party has a different code of conduct. When submitting a compliant about discriminatory comments, the most relevant part of the Labour Party code is section 2 which is called 'Anti-Semitism and other forms of racism':

“Membership from the party may be revoked on the following grounds; discrimination against another person on the basis of a protected characteristic as defined in the Equality Act 2010."

It is important when writing your complaint to refer back to this section of the code of conduct. You can submit your complaint via this online complaints form.

Your complaint should have a clear outline of how the politician has or may have broken equality laws or their party's 'Code of Conduct'.

If the person has said something racist about Romany Gypsy or Irish Traveller groups, you should point out that Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers are "ethnic groups" and that this means they are protected from discrimination under the Equality Act 2010. On top of this a duty called Public Sector Equality Duty, means all public bodies (such as councils) and their representatives should be working to stop discrimination, improve equality and promote good relations between people with a Gypsy or Traveller background and those who don't.

If you can show how what a politician said is discriminatory and against these equality laws this will add strength to your complaint.

To make the complaint stronger you can quote part of the party's code of conduct to show how the politician's comments break the party's rules.

Tips for complaining:

  • Save and include evidence of what the politician has said or done
  • Include the date and time when it happened
  • Be firm but polite
  • Explain why it matters to you or why it's important
  • Stick to the facts and keep it short
  • Quote the party's Code of Conduct, as well as the Equality Act and Public Sector Equality Duty 2010 - tell them why you think the politician's actions break these

Parliamentary privilege

If the politician has made the comments whilst inside the House of Commons or House of Lords they might be protected by ‘parliamentary privilege’. This means they are allowed to say and do certain things without breaking any rules. It makes it hard to challenge bad behaviour that takes place in the House of Lords or House of Commons. At the same time, it's still important to challenge them as it might make them less likely to do it again.

You can use a template we have created here.

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