'Unacceptable' Bristol City Council reparations debate dropped

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image copyrightCleo Lake
image captionMore than 130 public statements and questions were submitted in support of Cleo Lake's motion

A councillor has said it is "unacceptable" a motion to discuss Bristol's involvement in slavery reparations was not debated.

Green Party member Cleo Lake had tabled the debate which had been scheduled for the full meeting of Bristol City Council on Tuesday.

But the motion was dropped as the meeting ran over time, the second time this has happened.

More than 130 public statements and questions were submitted in support.

Ms Lake's motion called on the authority to provide more support for black cultural centres in the city and to lobby the government to set up a commission to discuss acknowledge, apologise and instigate reparations for the United Kingdom's role in the Transatlantic slave trade.

All councillors agreed to extend the meeting by half an hour to allow an hour to debate the future of Jubilee Pool, which was brought by the Conservatives.

'Abhorrent crime'

Labour councillor Ollie Mead said he had hoped Ms Lake's motion would be debated.

"Given that those who were enslaved were entirely disregarded when slavery ended it would be shameful to disregard the legacy of that abhorrent crime against fellow human beings again today," he said.

But party whips from the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrats did not agree to extend the meeting by another 45 minutes to allow discussion of Ms Lake's motion having earlier decided not to extend the meeting by more than half an hour.

Ms Lake said it was "unacceptable" this was allowed to happen.

She said: "The other councillor groups may not see this as an important issue but for many residents in their city it is. 

"There were over 130 statements and questions in support of the motion... they will be disappointed that it has been blocked from being discussed."

A council spokesman said: "The council's constitution limits the time of full council meetings to two-and-a-half hours, and any extensions can only be made by a formal vote.

"This week's agenda was very full and members agreed to extend the meeting by thirty minutes to consider the 'golden' motion. A further vote to extend time for the 'silver' motion was lost."

Ms Lake came into a disagreement with Bristol mayor, Marvin Rees in July when she tried to get the issue debated in a full council meeting.

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