Tool to challenge anti-Gypsyism in politics
A local councillor from the Conservative Party made a discriminatory comment.
All councils have their own code of conduct and complaints procedure. Download this general complaint template as a guide and visit the council website to find out how to submit a formal complaint. You can find a list of all councils in England here.
You should also write to the local councillor at the same time you write the complaint to the council, notifying them you have done so.
It is good practice to also submit a complaint to the national political party of which they are a member as the national party have more power to deal with the complaint.
The Conservative 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 Conservatives' code is 7.5;
“Members should not use their position to bully, abuse, victimise, harass or unlawfully discriminate against others.”
It is important when writing your complaint to refer back to this specific part of the code of conduct. You can submit your complaint by email to the Conservative Party, headed 'FAO Investigation Officer at The Conservative Party' or phone 020 7984 8050.
Your complaint should have a clear outline of how the Councillor 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 Councillor 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 Councillor's comments break the party's rules.
Tips for complaining:
- Save and include evidence of what the Councillor 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
You can use a template we have created here.