As the summer weather warms up and social media occasionally reflects that heat, we wish to jointly draw attention to an excellent motion “Debate not Hate” proposed by Labour Group Leader, Cllr Leigh Redman, at Somerset Council earlier this year.
Cllr Redman said:
“Democracy is at the heart of local government and councillors are as much part of the community they represent. While debating and disagreeing with each other is an integral part of the process, councillors should not be subjected to abuse and intimidation because of their role.”
The motion was unanimously passed, following strong and supportive debate, obviously receiving support from all political parties.
Leader of the Council, Cllr Bill Revans, (Liberal Democrat) said:
“In passing this motion Somerset County Council – and the new Somerset Council – is fully committed to standing up against abuse and working to promote positive, constructive public and political debate within our community.”
Cllr David Fothergill, Conservative Group Leader, added:
“I fully support this motion. The toxicity of abuse and intimidation must be halted, and a zero-tolerance approach adopted.”
Cllr Martin Dimery, Leader of the Greens Group, said:
“Healthy and constructive debate is the lifeblood of local government political discourse. I am pleased we all agree we must support this important campaign.”
Cllr John Hunt, Leader of the Independent Group, added:
“Threats and intimidation cannot be tolerated, and I am pleased that we, as a Council, are making that abundantly clear.”
Cllr Leigh Redman has recently added to his statement, saying:
“At every level of local politics, genuine people are brave enough to stand up and speak for their communities. No one should be intimidated in any way, perpetrators of this type of abuse should be identified, prosecuted and driven offline.”
The reason we are drawing attention to this motion at this time is that there have regrettably been recent online accusations against current elected Councillors in Somerset.
The Council and the Police consider all accusations, even when there is no evidence to support them, and take seriously all reported instances of online abuse and intimidation.
Further details of the Debate Not Hate motion can be found here: Debate not Hate: Council supports bid to tackle abuse and intimidation against councillors (newsomersetcouncil.org.uk)
Cllr Liz Leyshon, Deputy to Cllr Bill Revans
Cllr David Fothergill
Cllr Leigh Redman
Cllr Martin Dimery
Cllr John Hunt