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Avoid Brexit hate rhetoric, UK parties told

Britain’s equalities and human rights watchdog on Sunday regretted attempts to “legitimize hate” after the June 23 Brexit vote that increased divisions in society and sparked a wave of hate crime against minorities.

world Updated: Nov 27, 2016 23:01 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Brexit hate rhetoric
A protestor holds a placard during an anti-European Union demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament in London on November 23.(AFP)

Britain’s equalities and human rights watchdog on Sunday regretted attempts to “legitimise hate” after the June 23 Brexit vote that increased divisions in society and sparked a wave of hate crime against minorities.

The Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) wrote to Britain’s political parties to express its concern and ask politicians of all sides to be aware of the effect on national mood of their words and policies, even when they are not enacted.

The police have recorded an upsurge in hate crime since the EU referendum.

Trolls also targeted two former prime ministers Tony Blair and John Major last week for suggesting a second referendum on leaving the EU.

The EHRC letter states: “After the referendum, politicians of all parties spoke about the need to heal the country and bring people together. However, since those early weeks there is growing concern that the divisions on a range of big questions are widening and exacerbating tensions in our society”.

Citing examples of hate crime, it adds: “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.”

The letter, which is co-signed by its chairman David Isaac and chief executive Rebecca Hilsenrath, said politicians had spoken about "the need to heal the country and bring people together" following the referendum.

But instead, it said “there is growing concern that the divisions on a range of big questions are widening and exacerbating tensions in our society.”

Latest Home Office figures showed racist or religious abuse incidents recorded by police in England and Wales jumped 41% in the month after Britain voted to quit the EU.