CALLS have been issued for more respect and civility in politics following a number incidents nationally surrounding councillors’ conduct and the murder of MP David Amess.

The National Association of Local Councils has formed a committee to explore the issue of respect and civility in regional politics, issuing guidance on what is expected of elected representatives.

And Mayor of Carlisle Pamela Birks has said that it is unfortunately something that is sorely needed.

The Labour mayor said: “I think politicians have got to start respecting each other as much as expecting the public to respect us as well.

“What happens in chambers isn’t often pleasant and it’s often personalised.”

The new Civility and Respect Working Group set up by NALC will co-ordinate a programme of work to promote civility and respect in public life, including good governance and positive debate.

They aim to tackle bullying, harassment and any form of discrimination be it based on a person’s race, gender, sexual orientation or disability.

A petition calling for legislation allowing councillors to be disqualified or suspended for poor conduct has recently closed with 11,454 signatures.

Cllr Birks said: “I do think the legislation need tightened up.

“Standards committees can only make recommendations and you get councillors kept on after quite bad actions.”

The mayor said that “double standards” are being seen in local politics and called for uniform rules on councillors’ conduct.

“At the minute you can be in one council, party, area, and it would be dealt with differently to another area.”

She said that councillors lose their seat for an incident that would have meant “a slap on the wrist” for someone else.

“It seems at the minute parties can make up their own sanctions.”

Leader of Allerdale Borough Council Mike Johnson said: “I think it’s great that NALC are taking that stand point and that view, and trying to do something about it.

“We’ve experienced some of the challenges, accepting nothing near to what happened with Jo Cox and Sir David Amess, we’ve had some challenges here in Allerdale.

“Emotions run high but at the end of the day it’s about respect for one another it doesn’t matter what you disagree with.”

Cllr Johnson called for tougher punishments on local politicians who breach the code of conduct.

“We should be able to remove people from office from within the council when people do certain activities.

“The ability to reprimand people for poor behaviour is weak.”

The late Sir David Amess MP was tragically murdered in October whilst holding a surgery in his constituency of Southend.

His death has sparked calls to beef up the Online Harms Bill. Sir David expressed fury before his death at the abuse his colleagues, particularly female MPs, were being subjected to.

It has prompted a conversation about aggression towards politicians both online and in person.

Conservative Carlisle City Councillor Elizabeth Mallinson said that she has been subjected to abuse from the public after a worrying culture shift.

Cllr Mallinson said: "I've had verbal abuse, I've been pushed, I've been spat at, I've had some vile emails. In general at times you feel very vulnerable going about your ward business.

"It doesn't happen all the time, it's not day in day out.

"We are a lovely Northern city with lovely people and I mean that. I'm not intimidated I'm going to stand up for my residents and I'm going to be there for as long as they want me to.

"I love my job I love helping people but people are going to think twice about standing.

"I think it's got worse since social media took off, I do honestly believe that because the news is instantaneous now, people will retweet it, people go around telling half truths and then that generates.

"Now the mentality of people is they wanted everything yesterday. The emails are getting more demanding. I think it's very sad because we've got some absolutely delightful residents out there, lovely people who do come back and say thank you."

But Cllr Mallinson said: "You shouldn't bring sex into it but I do at times feel very vulnerable when I'm about, as a woman. I have had people surround me, luckily it came to nothing but it's very intimidating, it's very frightening."

"It's very poignant that it's happening today because we've got the Knife Angel there in light of the assassination of an MP."

The nationally renowned angel sculpture made from 10,000 seized knives will be watching over Carlisle City Centre for the next month, before spending January in Barrow-in-Furness.

It was created by the British Ironworks Centre as a stark reminder of the impact violence has.

Cumbria County Council, Barrow Borough Council and Cumbria Police worked together to bring the Knife Angel to Cumbria.

Sergeant Chris Blain of Cumbria Police said: "The visit of the angel will provide a platform to launch a month-long awareness programme in schools and other organisations."

Cumbria County Councillor Deborah Earl, cabinet member for public health and communities said: "Christmas will be a difficult time for the families of victims to this terrible act and we hope that those families can welcome the angel as a beacon of hope."

The murder of Sir David Amess was all too familiar as Labour MP Jo Cox was slain "for a political cause" in 2016.

The late Member of Parliament for Batley and Spen was murdered by a far right extremist one week before the EU referendum.

She was an ardent supporter of the Remain campaign.

Kim Leadbeater now carries the torch for her late sister Jo as the current Member of Parliament for Batley and Spen.