Search

Veolia revelations: pro-Israel group steps in claiming victory for blocking campaigner’s five-minute speech

08:42 24 December 2012

Revelations have emerged about the events that led to a campaigner being silenced in the council chamber as she prepared to make a five-minute speech about waste company Veolia.

Last month councillors from all three parties united to prevent Hackney resident Caroline Day’s deputation opposing the company’s bid for a £4billion North London Waste Authority (NLWA) contract.

Seven London boroughs are involved in the deal, which will cost Hackney £600 million.

Veolia was among the last two bidders and Ms Day had wanted to bring attention to its environmental and financial record, along with its involvement providing transport, waste, sewage and water services to Jewish settlements in Palestine, which are considered illegal under international law.

However, Conservative Cllr Linda Kelly stepped in to propose a motion to block Ms Day from speaking, seconded by elected Labour Mayor Jules Pipe, who stated Hackney had “no foreign policy”.

Now David Lewis, secretary and treasurer for UK Lawyers for Israel, – a group supporting the country – has gone on to publicly claim his group had won a “symbolic victory” by blocking the deputation.

He revealed that Cllr Kelly contacted him about Ms Day’s intention to speak and he advised her she could use a section of the council constitution – rule 12.8 – to block her. To achieve cross-party support, Mr Lewis then contacted Labour councillor Luke Akehurst, who he knew through his job at advocacy organisation We Believe in Israel.

Propaganda

Cllr Akehurst went on to alert the Labour group to Cllr Kelly’s intentions and the party decided to support her in a vote.

Caroline Day said: “It can hardly be a stronger alignment with a certain foreign policy when Hackney Council invited an openly political group, aimed at serving Israeli propaganda, to draft its motion.”

Mr Lewis said there was no lobbying as councillors he approached were “thinking the same” as him, but he believes Cllr Akehurst’s role was “fundamental”.

He said: “It changed the situation from one in which Linda [Kelly] was going to make a motion and cause a bit of a fuss, probably without achieving anything, to something that was going to work.

“There was no lobbying at all, simply because I was only dealing with Linda and Luke and I didn’t need to lobby them anyway because they were thinking the same as me.”

Cllr Akehurst – who declared an interest and withdrew from discussions at the meeting – said: “I didn’t have any influence over the Labour group’s stance on this vote because I didn’t attempt to influence them, and was unable to participate in their deliberations.”

Mr Pipe insists the motion had not been drafted by UK Lawyers for Israel.

“The final wording of the motion was in fact written by me, as the Labour group’s support for the motion was absolutely conditional on the fact that it should be purely procedural and make no value judgements about the issues under discussion,” he said in a statement.

The waste authority was due to take a decision on the tender last week but bidders were asked to resubmit their tenders and the final choice has been postponed until March. Veolia has now pulled out of the tender.

0 comments

Latest Hackney News Stories

Friday, May 27, 2016
Middleton Road at 8.30am during rush hour

Hackney Council looks set to scrap controversial plans to shut off 13 roads in London Fields to through traffic, after a report found “a high level of opposition from those who would be affected”.

Friday, May 27, 2016
Clive Watt

A thief who launched a “callous and cowardly attack”, stealing the purse of a 92-year-old woman as she tried to board a bus and leaving her traumatised to this day, has been jailed.

Friday, May 27, 2016
Youngsters at a workshop at the Geffrye Museum

Free summer half-term holiday activities for two to 16 year olds are being held at the Geffrye Museum next week for half term, inspired by the current exhibition about servants in households.

Friday, May 27, 2016
Traveller caravans at the beginning of the century

A lively Irish dance workshop, a fun-filled Gypsy sing along and walking treasure hunt tours of Hackney are just a handful of the free events laid on for June to celebrate Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month.

Thursday, May 26, 2016
Pupils from Jubilee Primary school on a visit to the Woodberry Wetlands and being shown around by Hamish Burnett from the London Wildlife Trust

Youngsters overcame their “suspicion” of mini-beasts and discovered a menagerie of wildlife lurking under the water in ponds, on a day to get them back in touch with nature.

Thursday, May 26, 2016
Met Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe and recovered firearms

An armed police operation is being launched to tackle London’s gun crime in areas like the East End with the highest levels of firearms being used by gangs.

Thursday, May 26, 2016
The trophies presented for the Civic Awards. Photo Gary Manhine

Five community stalwarts who help make Hackney a better place to live were honoured at a first-of-its-kind Town Hall ceremony last night.

Thursday, May 26, 2016
Caught on camera: Rats at the water feature in Butterfield Green

Youngsters are paddling in and even drinking water that is “literally crawling with rats” at a play area in Stoke Newington, parents have warned.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hackney Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe