Firebombs and death threats: councillors need more protection, say UK bodies

Dozens of seats going uncontested as candidates step down due to ‘truly toxic’ environment

More must be done to protect councillors from abuse, according to local government bodies, as those on the frontline of local democracy describe a “truly toxic” political environment where online aggression spills over into real-life behaviour.

Candidates for council elections on Thursday across the UK have shared their experiences of escalating hostility as the chair of the Local Government Association (LGA), councillorJames Jamieson, warned that “an increasing number … are being subjected to abuse, threats and intimidation both online and in-person, undermining the principles of free speech, democratic engagement and debate”.

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