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Brighton and Hove councillors refuse equality training in wake of golliwog row
Councillors are refusing to attend “equality training” sessions, claiming they are a “dreadful waste of money”.
After controversial Conservative councillor Dawn Barnett was ticked off for claiming golliwogs were “not racist”, all 54 members on Brighton and Hove City Council were advised to attend special workshops.
But after the first sessions were cancelled as not enough members said they could make it, The Argus knows of at least eight councillors who have no intention of attending them.
It comes months after the local authority was criticised by consultants for a series of racism, bullying and discrimination allegations.
Tony Janio, Conservative councillor for Hangleton and Knoll, said: “It’s all nonsense.
“We’re all mindful about equalities but the patronising way they have crudely dictated we should all attend these sessions is just wrong.
“It’s a dreadful waste of money.”
In December, councillors received an email inviting them to attend sessions with the offer of three dates.
But sources claim they were cancelled after only a handful said they would be willing to attend.
After the cancellation, The Argus asked the group leaders of all three parties to comment.
Labour group leader Warren Morgan, who was the only one to respond, said: “Equalities training is important.
“All Labour councillors were asked to attend the recent sessions but a number were unable to attend for work or personal reasons.
“All newly elected Labour councillors next May will be required to undertake training as part of their induction.”
But Bob Carden, who represents North Portslade for Labour but will stand down at the next election, said: “If I do not know how to behave after 22 years as a councillor I might as well pack up now.”
Lynda Hyde, Conservative councillor for Rottingdean, said: “I consider it a definite waste of council resources at this time when resources are sparse.
“I suspect this has come about to pacify the people who originally complained about Coun Barnett.”
A council spokeswoman said: “Due regard for equalities principles form the foundation of the council’s work. Providing training on these issues ensures councillors have a sound understanding of the council’s duties under equalities legislation.”
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