A LIBERAL Democrat councillor has hit out after a Conservative colleague amended her motion about racism and inclusivity to scrap almost all of its contents.

Alexandrine Kantor put the motion to South Oxfordshire District Council calling for it to recognise injustices faced by Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people.

She wanted the council to create a ‘Diversity and Inclusion Strategy’ to ensure it is ‘inclusive to BAME and other diverse and hard to reach communities: in its staff recruitment, representation and service provision’.

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Her two-page motion also included statements that she wanted the council to recognise and note, such as the death of George Floyd triggering global protests; that ‘black lives matter as much as all others’; and ‘that there is no place for racism or any form of xenophobia or bigotry anywhere in our society’.

She was then ‘surprised’ to see that Conservative councillor David Bartholomew had amended her motion, deleting all of the background leaving just one paragraph.

She said: "I am appalled by the ignorance of all racism locally shown by the opposition.

"Yes, the motion is too long, but it is concerning that you could not find one line in its background that you agreed with.

"I am wondering what was problematic. Does the opposition therefore think that there is a place in our society for racism and bigotry?

"Or does the opposition think that black lives don’t matter as much as the others? If you think the background is not needed because we do not have issues with racism here, let me ask you how do you think this amendment or perhaps an abstention on this motion will be perceived by the public?"

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Mr Bartholomew said he removed some of the statements because they were not relevant to the council.

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He said: "I don't disagree with many of the points that have been struck out: these will all be discussed as part of the debate. They are background items and not the substantive part of the motion.

"Some of the items are unreferenced and unsubstantiated, or not relevant to South Oxfordshire District Council."

He said he agreed that there is no place for racism or any form of xenophobia or bigotry anywhere in our society which forms part of the substantive motion - the only part that was not slashed.

In a statement, a spokesperson for South Oxfordshire District Council said: "The discussions and debate that take place at tonight’s full council meeting and the decision that follows will determine the council’s position on both the motion put forward and any amendments.

"The council has however had an equalities policy in place for many years to ensure it plans and provides services, policies and employment opportunities in a fair, inclusive and equal way to foster good relations and meet the needs of everyone.

"More recently the leader of the council wrote in an open letter at the start of the black lives matter movement that: The council remains fiercely committed to giving a voice to and representing all who suffer discrimination, persecution, hatred or injustice. We practice equality, fairness and inclusion and we are absolutely committed to help create an equal society for all."