The Council had before it a Notice of Motion set out in the agenda papers standing in the names of Mrs E B Tucker, Prof J W Raine, Mr M E Jenkins and Mrs F M Oborski.
The motion was moved by Mrs E B Tucker and seconded by Mr M E Jenkins who both spoke in favour of it, and Council agreed to deal with it on the day.
Those in favour of the motion made the following comments:
· The motion was aimed at establishing clarity on the Council's values and restate the Council's support for the resettlement of a small number of refugees and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in the county
· It should be emphasised that the Government, not the Council had funded the resettlement scheme. The motion was concerned with establishing the facts about this Council's approach to the Government's resettlement scheme, not to debate the merits or otherwise of the views of individual councillors
· The main concern was the impact on asylum-seekers and refugees, fleeing from persecution of the negative comments made by a member of the administration about them in the local press
· After the conclusion of the debate and during the mover's summing up, she indicated that she would be willing to propose an amendment withdrawing the first two paragraphs of the motion. The Head of Legal and Democratic Services advised that Council had concluded the debate on the motion as printed and the opportunity to alter the motion had not been taken. It was too late to propose an amendment during the summing up after the debate.
Those against the motion made the following comments:
· The Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Communities commented that everybody had different views on immigration and it was not the role of Council to criticise individual councillors for expressing their opinion. The comments made by the individual councillor did not reflect the work being undertaken in the county to support asylum-seekers and refugees, particularly from Syria. She set out the history of the resettlement programme, examples of successful integration and future resettlement proposals. She emphasised the important role the welcome groups and volunteers in supporting the programme in the county
· The Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Highways commented that this motion addressed two issues, freedom of speech and "who cares most about what". Although he recognised the important role of immigration in the history of the country, he queried how the current level of immigration was sustainable, given the pressures on local council services and budgets.
On a named vote, the motion was lost.
Those voting in favour were:
Ms P Agar, Mr C J Bloore, Mr A Fry, Ms P A Hill. Mr M E Jenkins, Mr R C Lunn, Mr P M McDonald, Mr L C R Mallett, Mrs F M Oborski, Prof J W Raine, Mrs M A Rayner, Ms C M Stalker, Mrs E B Tucker, Mr R M Udall, Mr T A L Wells. (15)
Those voting against were:
Mr B Clayton, Mr A A J Adams, Mr R C Adams, Mr A T Amos, Mr T Baker-Price, Mr R W Banks, Mr R M Bennett, Mr G R Brookes, Mrs J A Brunner, Ms R L Dent, Mr N Desmond, Mr S E Geraghty, Mr P Grove, Mr I D Hardiman, Mr P B Harrison, Mr M J Hart, Mrs A T Hingley, Mrs L C Hodgson, Dr A J Hopkins, Mr A D Kent, Mr S M Mackay, Ms K J May, Mr P Middlebrough, Mr A P Miller, Mr J A D O'Donnell, Ms T L Onslow, Dr K A Pollock, Mrs J A Potter, Mr A C Roberts, Mr C Rogers, Mr J H Smith, Mr A Stafford, Mr C B Taylor, Mr R P Tomlinson, Mr P A Tuthill, Ms R Vale, Ms S A Webb. (37)
Those abstaining were:
Dr C Hotham. (1)