Assaulted by Tory councillor for raising a question about Gaza

Jenny Hurley, Lancashire Socialist Party

Campaigners in Chorley, Lancashire attended a public council meeting on 27 February to ask why, despite it being the policy of the Labour majority on the council, no public statement calling for a ceasefire in Gaza was being debated. In response, I was assaulted by a Tory councillor and pushed towards the door, captured on video.

Chorley residents feel strongly that, after our constituency MP and speaker of the commons Lindsay Hoyle abused parliamentary procedure for the recent Gaza ceasefire vote, our elected representatives should take a clear stand.

After submitting public questions in advance, campaigners used our supplementary questions to ask about the lack of any public statement on Gaza.

It was during these questions that CEO Chris Sinnott shut down the meeting and campaigners held up signs saying “Chorley Borough Council: Silent on Genocide.”

Councillor Craige Southern, a Tory representative for Euxton South, Mawdesley and Croston, rushed at me shouting, grabbed my clothes and started trying to push me out of the room until an usher and member of the public stopped him.

We have already had our voice taken away by our MP, Lindsay Hoyle. Where is our voice now? Is Chorley now the most undemocratic place in Britain? We heard a lot about MPs being threatened, but who is going to protect the public from our elected representatives?

We won’t stop

Chorley for Palestine, which organised the protest, will continue campaigning. And we will continue to fight for a political voice for the anti-war movement and working-class people. As part of that, I am preparing to stand in the 2 May local elections as part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, for the fourth time – this time against the Labour leader of the council. We are putting the call out to all others wanting to make a socialist, anti-war challenge to Tories and Labour at the ballot box, to stand alongside us too!