Convenors of the council meeting blocked the motion on 16th January 2009 just hours before EDO MBM was decomissioned by six peace activists.
The document was leaked because the Green Party said they would press release the refusal (see handwritten note) but never did.
smashy and leaky
For immediate release: 20th January 2009
From the Green Group of Councillors, Brighton & Hove City Council
OUT OF TOUCH TORIES VETO COUNCIL DEBATE OVER EDO ARMS FACTORY
Greens have branded Brighton & Hove Tories ‘out-of-touch’ for refusing to allow councillors to debate the role of Moulescoomb arms factory EDO-MBM in supplying weapons being used in Gaza .
Despite thousands taking to the streets of the city in recent weeks – and local residents feelings running so high as to spark an attack on the factory – Brighton and Hove Mayor Gerry Peltzer-Dunn has insisted the issue is ‘irrelevant’ to inhabitants of Brighton and Hove.
Green Councillor Ben Duncan said the decision was just the latest proof that the Tories on the council are completely out-of-touch with the feelings of city residents:
“How anyone can come to the conclusion that the role of a Brighton factory in an armed conflict – an issue that has seen thousands take to the streets, Sussex Police draft in officers from around the region, and seven people facing criminal charges – is locally irrelevant is beyond me.
“It seems the Tories are trying to stifle debate on this issue, perhaps to protect the factory from any public criticism.”
Cllr Duncan, who made his comments after peace activists damaged computers and other fixtures and fittings at the Moulescoomb-based bomb factory, commented:
“There is no excuse for mindless criminal damage – but UK law does allow for the defence that a criminal act was committed to prevent a more serious one, and the unlawful killing of civilians in Gaza is certainly a ‘bigger’ crime: indeed peace activists have successfully used this defence many times.
“If the damage done to the EDO factory was motivated by a desire to disrupt the manufacture of components for bombs being used in Gaza , then I have every sympathy.
“We have to remember there’s all the difference in the world between committing violence against property and committing violence against people.
“But personally, I believe we have to follow peaceful and democratic means towards achieving peace – and that’s why I’m saddened that the Tories have refused to allow us to debate the issue at next week’s council meeting, claiming the activities of EDO-MBM are ‘irrelevant’ to the people of this city.
“This isn’t just about different people’s views on this issue, it’s about our right to discuss it in the town hall – as residents have requested - rather than refuse to even acknowledge local people’s concerns.
“I hope the Tories change their mind – and politicians of all parties will come together in the spirit of peace and condemn the role of any Brighton-based firms in the terrible violence that has unfolded in the Gaza Strip in recent weeks.
“Of course it is important to defend local jobs and local businesses – but not at any cost: not if the jobs are, however indirectly, resulting in civilian deaths.”
For further information, please contact:
Green Group Political Assistant
Or Cllr Ben Duncan on: 07824 866 953
Cllr Ben Duncan
Green City Councillor for Queen's Park ward
Green Party spokesperson on Community Safety and Policing
Member: Sussex Police Authority
Vice-Chair: St James's Area Action Group