West Northants Tories Vote Against Recognising Campaign to Stop
Violence Against Women
At Thursday’s full Council meeting of West Northamptonshire, the Conservative group appear to have been whipped to defeat a motion by the Liberal Democrats to recognise and support the White Ribbon Campaign. The White Ribbon Campaign was founded by a group of men over fifteen years ago and it encourages men to make a promise to never commit, excuse or remain silent about male violence against women.
The motion called upon all councillors, and especially all male councillors, to make the promise and for West Northants Council to become accredited under the scheme, providing training and encouraging its own male employees to make the promise also. It further asked that the council organises fundraising for the cause aligned to coincide with International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on the 25th November.
Councillor Jonathan Harris, Liberal Democrat Councillor for the Brixworth Ward who moved the motion said;
‘I am angered, appalled and quite frankly shocked that the Conservative group saw fit not to support this motion. The poor excuses were that it was “out dated language” and unequal as it didn’t refer to violence and abuse of men. The epidemic of violence, as described by Zoe Billingham, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary, is violence by men against women and girls. Between last year’s International Women’s Day and this year’s, 180 women have been killed at the hands of men across the country.
It is a fact that generally men still hold more positions in the public domain. Therefore men have a special responsibility to stand up in support of laws to protect women and girls. To hear one male councillor describe the motion as ‘vile’ beggars belief. What’s more, the motion had been in circulation to all groups at least three weeks before the council meeting and to receive a call from a cabinet member, who asked us to withdraw it two days before the meeting, is out of order. I was advised that the Conservatives apparently agreed with the sentiment but not the wording of the motion; well it was their job to offer an amendment to the motion to see if agreement could be made but despite there being plenty of time to do this, there was no attempt to find a compromise’.
Councillor Sally Beardsworth, Liberal Democrat Councillor for Kingsthorpe North said:
‘To see a non partisan motion defeated like this is wrong. It’s the same old Conservatives showing how little they understand an issue such as this and how little they care. All that we asked for was for councillors to show some personal leadership, make a stand and demonstrate courage to make the White Ribbon Promise. Courage to do this simple ask pales into insignificance compared to the courage that many women in our own area show every single day of their lives when living under the threat of violence and abuse.
What a proud day it must have been for those councillors returning home to their wives, girlfriends, sisters, mothers and friends and confessing that they did nothing to stand up for them’.