Politicians warned Brexit rhetoric has ‘legitimised’ hatred and homophobia

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has warned political parties in the UK that their rhetoric has helped “legitimise hatred.”

Homophobic, racist and anti-semitic attacks are on the rise since the result of the EU referendum in June, and EHRC describes them as “all stains on our society.”

Politicians warned Brexit rhetoric has ‘legitimised’ hatred and homophobia

The letter states: “We are concerned that attacks on supporters of both sides of the Brexit debate have polarised many parts of the country.

“There are those who used, and continue to use, public concern about immigration policy and the economy to legitimise hate.

“The vast majority of people who voted to leave the European Union did so because they believe it is best for Britain and not because they are intolerant of others.”

Following Britain’s vote to leave the EU, PinkNews reported that a group was heard chanting racist and homophobic slurs in London.

The government did express concern after a surge in hate crime reports in the wake of the referendum.

EHRC calls on the government to tone down the language used by politicians in order to combat hate crimes. It also suggests a review of sentencing hate crimes and the success rate of sentence lengths.

“Politicians of all sides should be aware of the effect on national mood of their words and policies. Your offices bring with them a responsibility to ensure that policy debate is conducted in a way that brings the country together and moves it forward.

“Robust discussion is a central pillar of our democracy and nothing should be done to undermine freedom of expression.

“The right to free and fair elections supported by accurate information and respectful debate is also essential to our democratic process.

“Our elected representatives and the media should reflect and foster the best values in our society and engage people on contentious issues in a responsible and considered way.”

The number of homophobic attacks doubled in the three months following the vote for Brexit.

Figures found by LGBT anti-violence charity, Galop, found that hate crimes against LGBT people increased 147% between July and September, compared to last year.