THURROCK Council voted “yes” on a motion calling for it to be ready and willing with plans to aid the refugee crisis.
A motion tabled by Conservative Deputy Leader, Councillor James Halden, was passed 22 votes to 19, with 6 abstaining. The vote saw a small number of Labour politicians back the Conservative motion, but the Labour leadership voted with UKIP against supporting refugees.
Cllr Halden said “This was all about compassion. Humanity has an obligation to victims. Thurrock should be willing to play its part and I am proud to be an elected member in a Borough where the official position is one where we have now agreed to play our part. I would be ashamed to see other local government partners showing leadership at a time Thurrock shirks its duty”.
Reflecting on the vote, Cllr Halden said “We are elected to show leadership and do the right thing. Yes we have issues that require resources here, but you can’t equate that with people being murdered in a civil war. This crisis is not convenient but a head in the sand mentality is not a viable plan for governing. Act now and be ready with a plan, or be unprepared and therefore potentially face greater costs when we need to act from a place of panic”.
Commenting on the fact that the Labour Leadership voted with UKIP, Cllr Halden said “There is a national debate between the Conservatives and Labour about how to help, not if we should help. So to see the leadership of Thurrock Labour vote with UKIP does not just underscore the fact that the Labour/UKIP voting record on the council is almost identical, but just shows how many principles that some in Thurrock Labour are ready to shed to try and appease UKIP and remain in power”.