Fringe Box



Letter: How Is This an Appropriate Use of the Borough Council’s Time?

Published on: 5 Apr, 2022
Updated on: 5 Apr, 2022
From: Gavin Morgan
In response to: Councillor Complains of Party Politically Motivated Motions on Borough Council’s Agenda

Guildford Borough Council (GBC) should obviously take a position on the important issues of our time and I believe it does.  However, I am deeply suspicious about the real motives behind the two motions tonight as reported by The Dragon. Two opposing political parties have proposed motions on women’s rights but are these motions more about political manoeuvring than the important issues they claim to be supporting?

According to the article, the first item on Cllr George Potter’s motion is that GBC should declare misogyny to be a hate crime. In January, the House of Lords proposed this as an amendment to the Police Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. The government rejected the idea. So is Cllr Potter’s motion merely a swipe at the Conservatives? And is Cllr Paul Spooner’s motion merely a repost? Are they using an important issue for their own political purposes? They need to explain why they think this is an appropriate use of council time.

Neither motion makes sense to me. Guildford Borough Council is not a legislative body. It has no power to make misogyny a hate crime. The other points raise more questions. Is Cllr Potter suggesting that GBC does not work with Surrey Police to improve women’s safety?

Cllr Spooner wants the council to condemn a decision by the sub-committee of the Surrey Police and Crime Panel. The Panel is run by Surrey County Council where the Conservatives have a majority. Why is Cllr Spooner not getting his colleagues to take up the issue there?

This is not the first time a councillor has used his position to promote his party. In 2020, the Lib Dems announced plans to decolonise Guildford Museum in a show of support for Black Lives Matter. There was plenty of effort put into enhancing their reputation but I am not aware that anything was done to decolonise the collections of which the Lib Dem councillor at the time showed little knowledge.

The council should review its guidelines and ensure councillors wishing to promote issues do so in a way that puts the issue clearly beyond political expediency and avoids inappropriate use of their position.

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Responses to Letter: How Is This an Appropriate Use of the Borough Council’s Time?

  1. Conor James Reply

    April 5, 2022 at 3:44 pm

    The real motives are to show support and stand up for women and girls in all communities and I’m very thankful that they are.

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