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

Yesterday, 17:56
A soprano pipistrelle, one of the three species whose noise was recorded on Saturday evening at BatFest. (Photo: Penny Dixie)

A soprano pipistrelle was one of three species of bats whose noise was recorded on Saturday evening at a festival dedicated to the species.

Yesterday, 11:59
The London Fields pub in Mare Street closed this summer

The former London Fields pub in Mare Street will reopen as members club Martello Hall after an application was approved by councillors on Thursday.

Yesterday, 11:30
Anna Fiorentini in TripKitchen, where she caught up with the Gazette. (Picture: Emma Bartholomew)

EMMA BARTHOLOMEW catches up with Anna Fiorentini, whose drama pupils are about to celebrate 15 years at Hackney Empire with a gala.

Saturday, August 27, 2016
The men targeted fire stations across the South East    Picture: Andrew Matthews

Three men have been convicted of stealing “lifesaving” firefighters’ equipment worth more than £100,000.

Friday, August 26, 2016
The fire broke out in Hackney Central

A woman has been treated for smoke inhalation following a fire in Hackney Central this afternoon.

Friday, August 26, 2016
Pearly Queen beer, which is being sold in Dalston

Meetal Patel and John Leiper came up with the idea of combining their love for beer and honey in the pub one night.

Friday, August 26, 2016
Maisie 'Big G' Spooner (Picture: London Fire Brigade)

Maisie Spooner, who served in the Auxiliary Fire Service in the war, died last month. The Gazette finds out how Hackney owes her a huge debt.

Friday, August 26, 2016
One of Joseph Bloor's wooden spoons

Each week, the Gazette takes to the streets to unearth something being manufactured right here in Hackney. This week, we speak to Joseph Bloor who makes wooden spoons.

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

You could win £15,000 to spend on either their mortgage or a deposit towards the home of their dreams

Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a period of time when you simply don’t have to worry about finding the money each month to pay your mortgage? When you don’t have to put money aside from your monthly income, or worry about having to afford other essential outgoings?

Which book character do you share cleaning habits with?

Whether you have more in common with put-upon Cinderella, emotionally turbulent Jane Eyre, or easily distracted Mole, you’re sure to appreciate that one lucky winner will receive four sessions of free cleaning. Enter our quiz for your chance to win. All runners up will get £10 off their first clean when making a repeat booking.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hackney Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now