Senior Conservatives have welcomed the decision by Council officials to block former Green Councillor, Ben Duncan’s, attempts to introduce a Council boycott of Israeli goods and services.
Cllr. Duncan was going to move a motion at the next Full Council meeting calling for the boycott but it was ruled out of order. Last month Cllr. Duncan also requested that the Council fly the Palestinian flag from its buildings to show solidarity with the Hamas fighters in Gaza.
Westbourne Ward Councillor and Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Hove, Graham Cox, said: “The Council quite rightly has a duty to foster good community relations and should not be involving itself in such controversial and inflammatory matters. If allowed to proceed, this motion would have damaged relations between faith groups, religions and minorities and risked increasing community tensions in Brighton & Hove. Last week, I met with the Sussex Jewish Representative Council and they are feeling upset, frightened and frankly very worried about what the future holds. This comes on the back of last month’s defacing of the Hove Hebrew Congregation Synagogue.”
Conservative Group Leader, Geoffrey Theobald, added: “I’m very pleased that this motion has been thrown out and I certainly would not have voted for it. Cllr. Duncan’s total lack of sensitivity never ceases to amaze me – he would do well to remember that he was elected to serve all the residents in his Ward and not to create divisions amongst them. Also, as Councillors we are elected to ensure that residents receive good quality services such as rubbish collection, education, housing, social care and so on. We should be concentrating on these issues rather than debating and passing motions on matters of foreign policy over which we have no powers.”