LGTBQ+ motion raised by Potters Bar councillors passed by Hertsmere

PUBLISHED: 13:35 16 July 2020 | UPDATED: 13:35 16 July 2020

Labour Potters Bar councillors Christian Gray and Chris Myers. Picture: Supplied.

Labour Potters Bar councillors Christian Gray and Chris Myers. Picture: Supplied.

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A motion by Potters Bar Labour councillors in favour of LGBTQ+ rights has been passed by Hertsmere Borough Council.

The Pride Flag flying at Hertsmere Borough Council last year. Picture: Jeremy Newmark.The Pride Flag flying at Hertsmere Borough Council last year. Picture: Jeremy Newmark.

Yesterday, a total of 22 councillors welcomed the introduction of the requirement to teach same-sex and other relationship education at all primary and secondary schools in England from September 2020 known as RSE.

Potters Bar Furzefield Cllr Chris Myers said, while introducing the motion, that when he entered senior school in the 1980s Section 28 – which did not allow councils to intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality – had been passed.

Cllr Myers explained this “horrifically homophobic legislation” by the Conservative government was aimed at whitewashing his community “from the public consciousness”.

“It’s clear that Section 28 was rooted in bigotry and hatred. Thankfully this atrocious legislation was repealed in 2003 [by the Labour government].”

Without support for inclusive teaching, which RSE promises in schools, he said many young LGBTQ+ kids, who do not have the support he enjoyed, often have nowhere to turn, which can be “incredibly mentally damaging”.

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“And those children are no longer with us.”

Councillor Andrew Melville supported the motion on behalf of all Liberal Democrats in the borough and thanked Cllr Myers for raising this issue.

Speaking on behalf of the Conservatives during the motion, the leader of the council Cllr Morris Bright said the current procedures did not allow a full debate as it limited speakers and timings for motions.

Cllr Bright explained the three minutes, allotted, did not allow all views to be properly considered and there was no time for debates or suggestions, which could have informed a tolerance from members on this issue as well as raising training for council staff on LGBT+ issues.

Potters Bar Oakmere Conservative councillor Jean Heywood said – while abstaining along with other Potters Bar conservative councillors Paul and Sarah Hodgson Jones and Ruth Lyon – that this was not fair to the older generation who would benefit from a discussion.

However other Conservative Potters Bar councillors such as Cllr Abhishek Sachdev and Cllr Mike Reeve did vote in favour.

Cllr Myers, in response, said he would have welcomed any questions from councillors prior to the debate.


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