BRIGHTON and Hove city council debated nuclear weapons in an explosive meeting branded “disgraceful” by the standards chief after a row about racism.

City councillors debated the feasibility and benefits of nuclear disarmament in a Full Council meeting which was abandoned after the live stream went down amid technical difficulties.

The meeting became embroiled in a row about racism. Conservative councillor Mary Mears questioned the council’s anti-racist stance after councillor Nancy Platts had not answered Argus questions relating to her time in Jeremy Corbyn’s office when he was Labour leader.

These questions were raised in October following the publication of a damning report by the human rights watchdog which found the Labour Party responsible for “unlawful” harassment and discrimination of its Jewish members.

The Argus: Brighton and Hove Labour leader Nancy Platts with Jeremy Corbyn Credit: LRC SussexBrighton and Hove Labour leader Nancy Platts with Jeremy Corbyn Credit: LRC Sussex

Among the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s findings was the revelation that Mr Corbyn’s office had “politically interfered” in the complaints process.

Cllr Platts was not named in the report.

READ MORE: Labour anti-Semitism: Ex-council leader part of office that acted 'unlawfully'

After Cllr Mears’ question at Thursday night’s meeting, the matter was immediately referred to the council’s legal adviser, who instructed that Green leader Phelim Mac Cafferty could answer the question if he wished.

He said: “It would not be appropriate for me to answer a question on behalf of another member, but what I would be very clear on and I think all members have been very clear on is that they want to fight racism.

“More than that, I know councillor Platts is among that number.”

Cllr Platts, who appeared to leave the meeting for a short while, later added she considered a comment “libellous” and is considering legal action.

Shortly after this, a comment was posted in the chat box by Labour councillor Nick Childs prompting ex-mayor Dee Simpson to say the councillor should be “reprimanded for it”.

“It just incites people, it’s completely unnecessary under any circumstances,” she said.

Cllr Childs said: “It was my comment that was in that chat box and I quoted the Prime Minister when he referred to Muslim women as “Bank robbers” in a racist outburst.

“I’m happy to retract it as long as Cllr Mears retracts her libellous comments about councillor Platts.”

The chairman of the meeting and current Mayor, Alan Robins, then pleaded for calm.

But the meeting continued to spiral downhill when independent councillor Tony Janio accused the process of being a “stitch-up”, although it’s not clear what he was referring to.

Independent councillor Kate Knight, who quit the Labour Party after being reported for alleged anti-Semitism, then gave a speech to the council about meetings being “acrimonious and unpleasant”.

Earlier this year, former Leading Labour councillor Carmen Appich apologised to Cllr Knight after branding her a "b***h" during a Zoom meeting where she thought she was on mute.

Speaking at yesterday’s meeting Cllr Knight said: “I’m very disappointed at how quickly this meeting has deteriorated.

“Not only are there serious personal allegations being made, but flippant and off-hand, casual remarks which I don’t think have any place in this meeting.”

The feed appeared to stop after the speech – it is not known whether this was due to technical difficulties.

Labour councillor Daniel Yates, the current standards chief, tweeted: “Disgraceful behaviour at full council meeting tonight.”

When it returned, councillors then debated a Labour motion on nuclear weapons.

The Conservative group refused to take part as, they say, it had nothing to do with city council business.

Conservative councillor Robert Nemeth said: “With their respective Members of Parliament failing to lead on this national issue, or even raise it, on behalf of their constituents, we can understand the Green Labour Coalition Administration wanting to table this motion.

“However, it remains disappointing to many that rather than use this precious time in chamber to debate policy and subject matter over which the council actually has control, the coalition wishes to distract from its failings, and complete lack of anything to say on local matters, by dabbling in national matters that their MPs are paid to deal with.

“When the subject is about how the Green Labour Coalition will actually run our city, we will gladly join the debate.

“Until then, we have nothing more to say.”

Shortly after this, the council’s webcast service went down leaving The Argus, Brighton and Hove News and the Local Democracy Reporting Service unable to watch proceedings.

The meeting was then abandoned.

After the report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission The Argus asked Cllr Platts whether she was involved in a decision to suspend former London mayor Ken Livingstone. We also asked whether she was aware of the office intervening in cases and whether she accepted the report’s findings in full.

We were referred to the Labour Party’s press office, which did not respond.