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Spalding area MP Sir John Hayes: "A Fair contest"

Vigorous debate - clarifying the differences which provide choice - is the lifeblood of healthy democratic politics. Passionate advocacy and considered opposition make effective policy-making possible, with the plans of people in power being subject to thorough scrutiny.

Those who want to try to sanitise the mother of all Parliaments, by curbing colourful language or labelling every criticism as somehow ‘offensive, ‘uncomfortable’, ‘dangerous’ or ‘harmful’ are doing open minded debate no good. The robust and dramatic nature of our House of Commons defines its character, winning interest and admiration from around the world.

Nevertheless, it is beyond doubt that cruelty is creeping into civil discourse, with personal harassment now considered by some a price that must be paid by those who pursue public office.

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