Agenda item

Motions

To debate the motions submitted in accordance with Standing Order 41.

 

Members are asked to note that the motions submitted will be circulated as a supplementary paper in advance of the meeting, in accordance with Standing Order 41(c).

Decision:

17.1    The following motion submitted by the Labour Group was approved:

 

“This council recognises that:

 

The Irish Troubles were an horrific conflict which, in just three short decades, costs the lives of over 3,500 people and injured 47,000 morethe vast majority of these victims were innocent civilians.

 

The Troubles claimed victims all across these islands, including in our city of London which in particular saw the Docklands attack, the most financially costly terrorist attack in the history of the United Kingdom.

 

This council notes with pleasure that this seemingly intractable conflict was ended twenty years ago this year with the signing of the Belfast Agreement (aka Good Friday Agreement), and; that this milestone agreement has undoubtedly saved hundreds of lives and directly benefitted the many thousands of families with Irish heritage in Brent.

 

This council endorses the principles of the Agreement which include:

 

·           consent;

·           self determination;

·           abandonment of violence;

·           recognition of both identities in Northern Ireland;

·           power sharing;

·           devolution;

 

This council notes with concern that in its twentieth year the Belfast Agreement has never been as threatened as it is today by the prospect of a hard border on the island of Ireland imposed by Britain’s exit from the European Union, which would undermine the ideas of inter-island cooperation, recognition of dual identities and self-determination in the Agreement.

 

This council resolves to:

 

·           celebrate the Belfast Agreement as an historic achievement in all of its cultural work in Brent;

·           register its opposition, on behalf of the Irish community in Brent, to a hard border between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland in writing to the relevant Secretary of State;

·           continue to promote the values of consent, harmony and cooperation in its community work in the spirit of the Belfast Agreement.”

 

17.2    The following motion submitted by the Labour Group was approved:

 

“As a major employer, and investor in local, regional, and national supply chains, this council recognises that, far too often, exploitative, unscrupulous, and abusive employment practices exist. This council condemns those practices and is committed to rooting them out

 

As part of its determination to tackle modern day slavery, this council adopts the following cooperative charter which sets out strategies for more rigorous supply chain management and reporting processes.

 

Whilst recognising the action already being taken, Brent Council will:

 

·           Train its corporate procurement team to understand modern slavery through the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply’s (CIPS) online course on Ethical Procurement and Supply.

 

·           Require its contractors to comply fully with the Modern Slavery Act 2015, wherever it applies, with contract termination as a potential sanction for noncompliance.

 

·           Challenge any abnormally low-cost tenders to ensure they do not rely upon the potential contractor practising modern slavery.

 

·           Highlight to its suppliers that contracted workers are free to join a trade union and are not to be treated unfairly for belonging to one.

 

·           Publicise its whistle-blowing system for staff to blow the whistle on any suspected examples of modern slavery.

 

·           Require its tendered contractors to adopt a whistle-blowing policy which enables their staff to blow the whistle on any suspected examples of modern slavery.

 

·           Review its contractual spending regularly to identify any potential issues with modern slavery.

 

·           Highlight for its suppliers any risks identified concerning modern slavery and refer them to the relevant agencies to be addressed.

 

·           Refer for investigation via the National Crime Agency’s national referral mechanism any of its contractors identified as a cause for concern regarding modern slavery.

 

·           Report publicly on the implementation of this policy annually.”

 

17.3    The following motion submitted by the Conservative Group was approved:

 

“With anti-Semitic hate crimes rising across London and the United Kingdom – this Council expresses that it is appalled at the increase in anti-Semitic Hate Crimes, and reiterates its support for the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism.

 

This Council is shocked at the recent spate of anti-Semitic posters that have been going up across TfL run bus stops, and it is further shocked at the recent comments by those who have described the recent condemnation of anti-Semitic language and behaviour as a ‘Zionist’ movement – using anti-Semitic language and imagery in campaigning and online, further enflaming anti-Semitic hatred across the Borough.

 

This Council will immediately adopt, into its councillor and public workers code of conduct, the full and complete IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, and implement policies to ensure that hate crimes against Jewish people are acted upon quickly and decisively.”

 

As part of the decision on the motion it was noted that reference to the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism would be included within the Member and Employee Codes of Conduct as a footnote.

Minutes:

18.1  Motion from the Labour Group – Northern Ireland Good Friday Agreement

 

The Mayor invited Councillor Kelcher to move the motion he had submitted on behalf of from the Labour Group who began by highlighting the importance of the Good Friday Agreement in marking the end of the conflict in Northern Ireland and outlining why he felt, given its significant impact, this deserved to be properly commemorated and celebrated.  Having noted the positive impact which the Agreement had had in the region and on the Irish community in Brent, Councillor Kelcher advised he was concerned at the threat which he felt was now posed arising from the prospect of a “hard Brexit” and potential for a hard border.  The motion, he pointed out, was therefore seeking support not only in recognising and celebrating the historic impact of the Agreement but also in terms of looking to maintain and defend its key principles, especially in relation to the potential outcome of the Brexit process.

 

The Mayor then invited up to two other contributions from the Labour Group, with the following members speaking in support of the motion:

 

Councillor Conneely highlighted the importance of the Agreement for the Irish community in Brent.  Having recognised the bravery of those involved in securing the Agreement she was concerned at what she felt to be its consistent undermining by successive Conservative Governments since 2010 and advised that she was therefore proud to be supporting the motion in seeking a shared future of peace.

 

Councillor Gill felt it was important to recognise the impact of the conflict which had been ended by the Agreement and need to ensure that, as a result, the peace created over the last 20 years was protected.  He therefore urged all Members to support the motion.

 

The Mayor then invited Councillor Colwill to respond to the motion on behalf of the Conservative Group who confirmed his Group would also be supporting the motion in recognition of the historic impact and importance of the Good Friday Agreement.  Whilst supportive of the motion he felt that an option in relation to addressing the concerns raised about the potential impact of any hard border from the Brexit negotiations, would be for the Council to consider supporting the border solution put forward by the European Reform Group.

 

In exercising his right of reply, Councillor Kelcher thanked members for their support and in recognising the impact and importance of the Agreement.

 

The Mayor then put the motion (as set out below) to a vote, by show of hands, which was unanimously declared CARRIED:

 

“This council recognises that:

 

The Irish Troubles were an horrific conflict which, in just three short decades, costs the lives of over 3,500 people and injured 47,000 morethe vast majority of these victims were innocent civilians.

 

The Troubles claimed victims all across these islands, including in our city of London which in particular saw the Docklands attack, the most financially costly terrorist attack in the history of the United Kingdom.

 

This council notes with pleasure that this seemingly intractable conflict was ended twenty years ago this year with the signing of the Belfast Agreement (aka Good Friday Agreement), and; that this milestone agreement has undoubtedly saved hundreds of lives and directly benefitted the many thousands of families with Irish heritage in Brent.

 

This council endorses the principles of the Agreement which include:

 

·                consent;

·                self determination;

·                abandonment of violence;

·                recognition of both identities in Northern Ireland;

·                power sharing;

·                devolution;

 

This council notes with concern that in its twentieth year the Belfast Agreement has never been as threatened as it is today by the prospect of a hard border on the island of Ireland imposed by Britain’s exit from the European Union, which would undermine the ideas of inter-island cooperation, recognition of dual identities and self-determination in the Agreement.

 

This council resolves to:

 

·           celebrate the Belfast Agreement as an historic achievement in all of its cultural work in Brent;

·           register its opposition, on behalf of the Irish community in Brent, to a hard border between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland in writing to the relevant Secretary of State;

·           continue to promote the values of consent, harmony and cooperation in its community work in the spirit of the Belfast Agreement.”

 

18.2  Motion from the Labour Group – Charter Against Modern Slavery

 

The Mayor invited Councillor Kabir to move the motion she had submitted on behalf of the Labour Group who began by highlighting the prevalence and different forms of modern day slavery which she felt it was unacceptable to still find examples of in countries such as the UK.  Whilst supportive of the requirement introduced under the Modern Day Slavery Act 2015 for businesses to report annually on the steps being taken to ensure modern slavery and human trafficking were not practices supported in their business or supply chain operations the concern was that this only applied to organisations with a turnover of £36m.  For these reasons, Councillor Kabir, whilst recognising the actions already being taken by the Council in terms of its procurement practices, commended the adoption of the cooperative charter detailed within the motion.

 

The Mayor then invited up to two other contributions from the Labour Group, with the following members speaking in support of the motion:

 

Councillor Shahzad felt that modern day slavery and human trafficking represented the worst type of human right violation and was therefore keen, in supporting the motion, to ensure the Council did everything possible to condemn and seek to prevent these type of practices.

 

Councillor Chohan highlighted his concern at the extent of these type of practices within the manufacturing, catering and domiciliary sectors and was also therefore keen to support the motion, as a means to address exploitative and abusive employment practices.

 

The Mayor then invited Councillor Kansagra to respond to the motion on behalf of the Conservative Group who advised his Group would also be supporting the motion.  Having welcomed the approach outlined he felt it was, however, also important to recognise the contribution made by Theresa May, in both her current role as Prime Minister and previous role as Home Secretary, towards tackling these concerns who had led on introduction of the Modern Day Slavery Act.

 

Having thanked Members for their support, Councillor Kabir advised she had no further comments to make in exercising her right of reply, so the Mayor then put the motion (as set out below) to a vote, by show of hands, which was unanimously declared CARRIED:

 

“As a major employer, and investor in local, regional, and national supply chains, this council recognises that, far too often, exploitative, unscrupulous, and abusive employment practices exist. This council condemns those practices and is committed to rooting them out

 

As part of its determination to tackle modern day slavery, this council adopts the following cooperative charter which sets out strategies for more rigorous supply chain management and reporting processes.

 

Whilst recognising the action already being taken, Brent Council will:

 

·                Train its corporate procurement team to understand modern slavery through the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply’s (CIPS) online course on Ethical Procurement and Supply.

 

·                Require its contractors to comply fully with the Modern Slavery Act 2015, wherever it applies, with contract termination as a potential sanction for noncompliance.

 

·                Challenge any abnormally low-cost tenders to ensure they do not rely upon the potential contractor practising modern slavery.

 

·                Highlight to its suppliers that contracted workers are free to join a trade union and are not to be treated unfairly for belonging to one.

 

·                Publicise its whistle-blowing system for staff to blow the whistle on any suspected examples of modern slavery.

 

·                Require its tendered contractors to adopt a whistle-blowing policy which enables their staff to blow the whistle on any suspected examples of modern slavery.

 

·                Review its contractual spending regularly to identify any potential issues with modern slavery.

 

·                Highlight for its suppliers any risks identified concerning modern slavery and refer them to the relevant agencies to be addressed.

 

·                Refer for investigation via the National Crime Agency’s national referral mechanism any of its contractors identified as a cause for concern regarding modern slavery.

 

·                Report publicly on the implementation of this policy annually.”

 

18.3  Motion from Conservative Group – Anti-Semitism

 

Prior to the consideration of this item, the Mayor took the opportunity to remind Members of the Council’s statutory duty to have “due regard” to the need to eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation and advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between persons who shared protected characteristics and those who did not.  He advised this represented the public sector equality duty and that the protected characteristics referred to included any race, religion or beliefs relevant to the motion.  He concluded by reminding Members that they would, however, be free to express their own political opinions.

 

The Mayor then invited Councillor Maurice to move the motion, submitted on behalf of the Conservative Group who whilst recognising the sanctuary traditionally provided within the UK for those seeking to escape persecution expressed concern about the increase in anti-Semitic hate crime which had led to some sections of the Jewish community feeling threatened and unwanted.  He felt this had been expounded by the rise of the Momentum movement.  Referring to a poem by Martin Niemoller he concluded by advising that in order to provide reassurance for those communities affected, the motion was seeking to reiterate support for the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism and to ensure this was include within the Council’s Members and Employee Codes of Conduct.

 

The Mayor then invited contributions from the Labour Group, with Councillor Tom Miller, as Cabinet Member for Stronger Communities, responding to the motion by highlighting that the Labour Group had welcomed and would be supporting its content recognising the need to focus on community relations.  He reminded Members that Brent had been a trailblazer in this respect, having adopted the full IHRA definition back in September 2017 with the Council committed to working with the Jewish community to tackle all forms of anti-Semitism.  He concluded by advising that if Members were minded to support the motion it was recommended that reference to the IHRA definition would be included within the Member and Employee Codes of Conduct as a footnote which Councillor Maurice advised he would be willing to support.

 

The Mayor advised that it would be possible to take a further two contributions (one from each Group) during the debate on the motion, with the following Members speaking:

 

Councillor Nerva, in supporting the motion advised he was proud of the original decision taken by the Council in September 2017 to adopt in full the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism and of the decision being sought under the current motion to ensure this was enshrined in Council policy and procedure.  Having recognised and accepted the problems experienced within the national Labour Party relating to adoption of the definition he was supportive of the continued efforts being made to build broad alliances within the Party in order to maximise support for IHRA and for the wider focus in eradicating all forms of anti-Semitism, which he felt the Conservative Party also needed to consider in relation to how they dealt with Islamophobia.

 

Councillor Kansagra endorsed the comments made by Councillor Nerva.  Whilst keen to ensure that discrimination was not tolerated in any form he felt there was a need to recognise the strong level of community cohesion within Brent and record of the Council in encouraging good community relations, which we was keen to see maintained.

 

In exercising his right of reply, Councillor Maurice thanked Members for their support and advised from a personal perspective that he had been fortunate whilst living in Brent not to have experienced any form of anti-Semitism.  He did recognise, however, the concerns being expressed and felt there was a need to educate those seeking to preach anti-Semitism or Islamophobia and to demonstrate by continuing to work together as a Council, that this type of behaviour would not be tolerated.

 

The Mayor then put the motion (as set out below) to a vote, by show of hands, which was unanimously declared CARRIED with Members noting that reference to the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism would be included within the Member and Employee Codes of Conduct as a footnote:

 

“With anti-Semitic hate crimes rising across London and the United Kingdom – this Council expresses that it is appalled at the increase in anti-Semitic Hate Crimes, and reiterates its support for the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism.

 

This Council is shocked at the recent spate of anti-Semitic posters that have been going up across TfL run bus stops, and it is further shocked at the recent comments by those who have described the recent condemnation of anti-Semitic language and behaviour as a ‘Zionist’ movement – using anti-Semitic language and imagery in campaigning and online, further enflaming anti-Semitic hatred across the Borough.

 

This Council will immediately adopt, into its councillor and public workers code of conduct, the full and complete IHRA definition of anti-Semitism*, and implement policies to ensure that hate crimes against Jewish people are acted upon quickly and decisively.”

Supporting documents: