09:00AM, Saturday 27 June 2020
The leader of Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) has issued a statement clarifying why the council will not be ‘stating support’ for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Cllr John Halsall (Con, Remenham, Wargrave and Ruscombe) said: “I wish to clarify my position on Black Lives Matter: I completely support the message, principles and all the aims of Black Lives Matter in the UK. I have always been opposed to discrimination in all its forms and understand the need today to have a clear focus of tackling racism wherever it is found.”
In the statement he added: “I was as shocked and disgusted at the killing of George Floyd as any other right thinking person and it is my sincere hope that the world can change for the better as a result of the outcry it has produced.
“Many of the aspirations of Black Lives Matter in the US are shared with those in the UK and I fully support those.
“But I must explain why, as an authority, we will not be committing to the gesture politics of stating support for the Black Lives Matter as it exists as a political movement in the USA.
“This is because it is a political movement over which we have no control and which is campaigning on some issues that are peculiar to the US (for example, the movement’s prominent campaign to ‘Defund the Police’).
“These are issues that it is not right for WBC to take a position on and I will not bow to the easy option of doing so.
“My focus is our residents, and our ongoing commitment to strive for equality and celebrate diversity.”
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