Manchester City Council

Shelter from the Storm

As the Conservative Party careers on around us, Manchester City Council members, including our one Conservative, are cocooned in the Council Chamber for our eight weekly Council meeting.

Earlier I have a meeting to agree the agenda for our next Executive Committee, a little frustrating as half the reports that are supposed to go to it aren't ready yet. So much for deadlines. There's not much mood for debating in the Council Chamber. The first big debate on Climate change is agreed unanimously, and there is a perfunctory debate on housing.

There is another which garners all-party support which I do want to say something about, an item on the proposed English Defence League demonstration due in Manchester on Saturday. The Council's position is quite clear . We support the right to peaceful protest as long as it is not racist or abusive to any of our many communities. Previous EDL assemblies in other towns have been offensive in extreme and have also been violent. We certainly don't want them in Manchester but unfortunately the law as it stands doesn't allow us or anybody else to ban them. We are working closely with the police to make sure they don't achieve their disruptive aims, and with potential counter-demonstrators to try and prevent them responding to provocation, something that in itself would achieve the EDL's objectives. We also intend to make sure that for everybody else not involved in this in any way, that they can go about their business in Manchester freely and peacefully.

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The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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