25 September 2019

Council statement on meeting at The Old Courtroom

Statement from the leader of the council, Nancy Platts - 25 September

“I stand by my statement in support of the Jewish community and am clear that antisemitism has no place in our city. 

“I personally have taken action whenever concerns about conference related events have been raised with me personally. I contacted organisers asking them to review their speakers and events to ensure they are inclusive and appropriate. I have also made follow up calls and emails to organisers.

“I didn’t personally receive any emails about the meeting in the Old Courtroom prior to the event, but as soon I was made aware that others had received complaints, I asked council staff to contact the organisers using exactly the same email I previously used to raise my concerns and seek assurances from event organisers.  

“I have ensured people know how to report hate crime to the police and how to make complaints to the Labour Party where someone has identified a Labour Party member involved in such activity.

“I also wrote to the Labour Party asking them to circulate the education page on antisemitism to all delegates, visitors and fringe organisers attending conference ahead of the event.

“We are dealing with a set of deeply complex issues with very strong and differing views being expressed. What’s imperative to me is that we as a society are able to balance the rights of people to speak out about issues that matter to them and enable political discourse, without it becoming hate speech.

“Our strength in Brighton & Hove is that we live together, celebrate and learn from our differences and recognise each other’s rights and freedoms. We will not accept hate speech or hate crime in Brighton & Hove and I urge people to think carefully about the events and speakers they bring to our city. I will not allow our reputation for welcome and sanctuary to be tarnished.”

Council statement - 24 September

“Our position is clear. Antisemitism has no place in Brighton & Hove.

“We received an innocuous late event booking for Jet Industrial Services which gave no indication about the content of the event. We weren’t aware of the programme of speakers until yesterday morning.

“As soon as the programme of speakers was known to us we contacted the organiser. We asked them to review the event and speakers and to consider whether they were appropriate and inclusive to anyone who might want to attend, including members of the Jewish community.

“We also passed on details of the meeting to the police who gave assurances of a visible police presence at the meeting.

“We understand 27 people attended the meeting and that it took place with no public disorder concerns.”