New conspiracy theory guide for MPs and candidates warns of threat to UK democracy

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New conspiracy theory guide for MPs and candidates warns of threat to UK democracy

New guide was commissioned by the Leader of the House of Commons Penny Mordaunt MP and put together by the Antisemitism Policy Trust and other experts including Tell MAMA

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Penny Mordaunt launches the Conspiracies Guide for MPs for candidates alongside Lucy Powell
Penny Mordaunt launches the Conspiracies Guide for MPs for candidates alongside Lucy Powell

A guide has been launched aimed at preventing MPs and parliamentary candidates from being drawn into conspiracy theories with a warning that they pose a threat to democracy.

Commissioned by the Leader of the House of Commons Penny Mordaunt MP and launched alongside the shadow Leader of the House, Lucy Powell MP, the  guide provides examples of eight conspiracies including those emerging from the QAnon movement, anti-vaccine narratives and climate change denial.

The guide was put together by expert groups including the Antisemitism Policy Trust and Tell MAMA, the charity working to combat anti-Muslim hate.

Research has identified a key connection between antisemitism and conspiracy theories.

A recent study conducted by researchers from King’s College London, found that antisemitism is more likely to occur among those who believe in conspiracy theories, whether their views are right or left-wing. Antisemitism is a present thread across all the case studies presented in this guide.

Launch in parliament of the Conspiracies Guide

Penny Mordaunt MP, Leader of the House of Commons said: “The Proliferation of conspiracy theories across the UK is deeply disturbing. They are deliberate campaigns to spread disinformation and fear. If they go unchallenged we risk the public being conned and their wellbeing potentially damaged. These campaigns are also a threat to the health of our democracy.

“It is essential that we give the public and their representatives the tools they need to combat this phenomenon.

“I strongly support this guide, spearheaded by the Antisemitism Policy Trust, as it will help equip us all to combat misinformation and ensure the British people have the knowhow they need to think critically. This guide bolsters the efforts I am leading in the House of Commons and my colleagues in Government to protect the public from the damaging effects of misinformation and safeguard the integrity of our democratic process.”

Lucy Powell MP, shadow leader of the house said: “The rise in conspiracy theories should worry us all. Whilst their existence is nothing new, the proliferation of social media and online channels has multiplied their reach, their risk, and the repercussions they have on individuals, our society, our politics and democracy.

“This guide is a must-read for MPs and candidates, who have an important role in leading their communities, speaking on the national stage with clarity and truth, and against mis and dis information which can harm communities and our country.”

Danny Stone MBE, chief executive of the Antisemitism Policy Trust, said: “One doesn’t have to fall particularly far down any conspiracy theory rabbit hole before finding antisemitic themes, tropes, or ideas.

“We were delighted to work with the Leader of the House, Penny Mordaunt MP, whose initiative this was, and so many other organisations on this guide. It is imperative that parliamentarians and parliamentary candidates can spot, and certainly avoid promoting and amplifying conspiracy myths. We hope this guide will help them in that endeavour.”

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