From the Ballot to the Bullet: The Rise of Political Violence in the West

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From the Ballot to the Bullet: The Rise of Political Violence in the West

19 June @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

For the first time, all candidates in the UK general election are being offered security. 

It’s a shocking reminder that British politics is increasingly plagued by violence. Two MPs, Jo Cox and Sir David Amess, were murdered in the last decade. MPs from all parties have received a huge quantity of death threats. They have been harangued in the street by constituents. Their offices have been vandalised. At times, their families have been threatened. In a few cases, protesters have even shown up outside MPs’ homes.

But political violence is not limited to the UK. It poses a threat to democracies across the West. From the United States to France and the Netherlands, political violence is on the rise. But what is fuelling this worrying phenomenon? And how can we stop it?

The Henry Jackson Society is releasing a report sounding the alarm. It explores the various aspects of political violence today and offers concrete solutions.

Join us on Wednesday 19 June at 6pm for a thought-provoking discussion on this important issue.



Dr Theo Zenou is a Research Fellow at the Henry Jackson Society. He has a PhD in history from Cambridge University and has written for The Washington Post, The Economist and Sunday Times.



Conleth Burns joined More in Common in 2021. Since then, he has helped establish More in Common’s consultancy and thought leadership work in the UK helping partners across politics, business and civil society to better navigate big challenges through better understanding the public’s values and starting points on a range of issues from climate to refugee welcome to culture wars. Before joining More in Common, Conleth did campaigning work for the United World Project and community development work in his Northern Ireland hometown. He also holds a Law degree from the University of Oxford.



Sam Bidwell is an Associate Research Fellow at the Henry Jackson Society and the Director of the Next Generation Centre at the Adam Smith Institute. He has a Bachelor of Laws from Cambridge University, with a focus on constitutional, public and international law. He has worked as a Parliamentary Researcher, and as a Press and Research Consultant for the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council. Sam has written for The TelegraphThe CriticCityAMCapX and others.





The Henry Jackson Society hosted a discussion on the rising trend of political violence in Western democracies, featuring insights from Dr. Theo Zenou and other experts. The conversation examined the increasing instances of online abuse, verbal threats, and physical violence against politicians, with particular focus on recent cases in the UK. Speakers highlighted factors contributing to this trend, including political polarization and extremist ideologies, and discussed the impact on democratic institutions and politicians’ ability to engage effectively with constituents. Policy recommendations were proposed, including enhanced security measures for politicians, stricter laws against hate speech, and promoting civil discourse in society. The discussion touched on public attitudes towards political violence, noting concerning trends among younger demographics. Lessons from the Northern Ireland peace process were explored as a potential model for addressing current issues. Speakers emphasized the importance of political leaders maintaining a central ground and consistently condemning all forms of political violence. The conversation also addressed the human impact of political threats on politicians and their families, expressing concern about potential deterrence to democratic participation. The event highlighted the urgent need for comprehensive action to address political violence and its implications for democratic societies.


Watch this event ONLINE.

To attend IN-PERSON please submit your details in the form below:






19 June
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


Millbank Tower, 21-24 Millbank, London, England, SW1P 4QP
21-24 Millbank
Westminster, SW1P 4QP United Kingdom
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Dr Theo Zenou, Conleth Burns, Sam Bidwell


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