Lancaster Green councillors 'extremely disappointed' after Gaza ceasefire debate is refused

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Lancaster's 21 Green councillors calling for a ceasefire in Gaza have been told their motion submitted for debate to a city council meeting next week is not to be allowed.

Under constitutional rules the council’s chief executive is able to refuse any motion he feels is 'not within the remit of the council or its functions'.

The Lancaster City Council constitution says: "Motions must be about matters for which the council has a responsibility or which affect the area or residents, workers or visitors."

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Other councils across the country have had their motions calling for a ceasefire allowed and passed by councillors, including Sheffield, Liverpool, Oxford, Blackburn, Preston and Pendle.

Green city councillors call for a ceasefire in Gaza.Green city councillors call for a ceasefire in Gaza.
Green city councillors call for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Green councillor Tom Fish said: "We wanted Lancaster City Council to respond to the deep concern and pain of residents over the violence in Gaza, Israel and the West Bank.

"We feel strongly this is a matter that affects local residents - we are an international city, as has been demonstrated by the turnout to peace vigils and marches in recent weeks in Lancaster.

"Our motion if passed would have condemned all anti-semitism, Islamophobia and hate crime and asked the chief executive to write to the Prime Minister to urge parliament to support an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

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"We called on the Prime Minister to end military aid for the conflict and resource and support peace talks.

"This conflict will only be resolved by negotiation. Unless the voices of all those calling for a ceasefire are heard, the terrible violence will continue."

Green councillor Suhir Abuhajar, who spoke at the march in Lancaster to end war in Gaza held on Saturday, said: “I am extremely disappointed that our motion was ruled out of order.

"We want to ask the Government to do all in its power to advocate for peace and for an immediate and permanent ceasefire.

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"So many of our residents want the UK to be the driving force behind a peaceful resolution to this dire humanitarian crisis. I am proud that the Green Party has consistently called for a permanent ceasefire.

"We have set up a petition so that people can express their support in calling for the council to add its weight to the calls on Government for a ceasefire.“