SNP and Lib Dem councillors in Edinburgh call for 'respectful debate'

They condemned the 'toxic' social media posts with violent language towards politicians.

SNP and Liberal Democrat councillors in Edinburgh call for ‘respectful debate’ Google Maps

SNP and Liberal Democrat councillors in Edinburgh have called for “respectful political debate” amid fears of escalating personal attacks.

A joint motion has been submitted by the parties as part of an effort to stem rising tensions.

They condemned “toxic” social media posts containing aggressing and violent language towards politicians.

And they stated their concern that the current atmosphere is leading to people being put off entering politics.

In their motion, the parties have called on Edinburgh’s councillors to “lead the way” in improving the tenor of political debate.

It comes in a week where there has been heated debate online over who is to blame for bin strikes in the city.

Members of the SNP, including senior figures such as Angus Robertson and John Nicholson, have criticised the Labour-led council for waste piling on the streets.

However, Labour has hit back, citing the level of funding from the Scottish Government made available to local authorities across the country.

Unite the Union also insisted that the strike is a national dispute, which cannot be stopped by one council.

Previous resolutions have been adopted by The City of Edinburgh Council seeking to improve tone and respect in the workplace.

SNP Group Leader Adam McVey insisted that politicians in power can be held to account without “demonising” personal attacks.

“It’s essential we are able to vigorously debate and discuss our differences as politicians and represent our constituents robustly,” he said.

“People who voted for all our respective parties and candidates and expected us to fight for our beliefs.

“However it’s important to remember our disagreements are not personal. We can hold politicians in power to account without the need for demonising personal attacks.

“And we can set out our ideas in a way which respects differing views, even when strongly challenging them.

“We’re hopeful that again council passes this motion but also takes a pause to remember why we are here and keep debate centred on parties, record and ideas, not attacking individual people and their families – we know where that leads.”

Liberal Democrat councillor, Sanne Dijkstra-Downie, who is seconding the motion, said that such attacks must never be an accepted part of the job.

“Too many talented people, including many women and people from ethnic minority groups, are put off standing for election because they fear being targeted with personal abuse,” she said.

“Such attacks should never be an accepted part of any job.

“This is why it’s so important that as elected members we set the right example.

“When we disagree, we should absolutely have robust but respectful debate, but it must be about ideas and never about individuals.“

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