Agenda item - Petitions for Council Debate
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Petitions for Council Debate
Petitions to be debated at Council. Report of the Monitoring Officer.
(1) Rejection of the usage of the terms 'Duke and Duchess of Sussex’. Lead petitioner Charles Ross.
53.1 The Mayor stated that where a petition secured 1,250 or more signatures it could be debated at the council meeting. She had been made aware of 1 such petition.
53.2 The Mayor then invited Mr. Charles Ross to come forward and present the petition.
53.3 Mr. Ross thanked the Mayor and sated that the petition was in no way a personal attack of either the Duke or Duchess of Sussex; but rather sought to highlight the unfair and hierarchical situation faced by citizens of the country. He had no objection to invitations to Harry and/or Rebecca Windsor being invited to visit the city because of their personal actions but not as members of the royal family. He believed it was time for the city to show its position as a republican city and noted that the petition was the third highest to come before the council for debate. There was no need to continue with the feudal system and he hoped that the city council would have the courage to set Brighton as open republic.
Councillor Platts thanked Mr. Ross for bringing the petition to the
council meeting and stated that I am aware that
there are passionately held views on either side of the argument
about the monarchy which are legitimate. However, that is not a
matter for local authorities and we obviously do not have the power
to remove titles. That is a matter for the Crown.
The Council has a number of pressing issues it has to prioritise, such as homelessness, climate change, the effects of austerity, ensuring we and the economic and social wellbeing of the City’s residents. Although I fully respect the views held by people on both sides of the argument, given the more pressing challenges we have, I do not believe this would be a proper use of council time and resources to progress the proposals in the petition.
I would therefore ask the Council to note the petition and thank Mr Ross for presenting it.
53.5 Councillor Bell stated that he respected the arguments for both sides in relation to the issue and noted that the petition had only been signed by just under 4,000 people and the city’s population was over 270,000. The title had been given by the Queen and as a Conservative Group he stated that they were proud to have the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and they would support the monarchy.
53.6 Councillor Mac Cafferty stated that the Green Party had a long-standing tradition of supporting republicanism and his own preference would be to have a report on the matter, although he was unsure what action the council could take.
53.7 Councillor Platts noted the comments and stated that she had nothing else to add.
53.8 The Mayor thanked Mr. Ross for attending the meeting and presenting the petition. She then put the recommendation to note the petition to the vote which was carried.
53.9 RESOLVED: That the petition be noted.