Labour’s newest councillor, Stephen Morgan, took no time in making his maiden speech in the council chamber on Tuesday 12 July 2016 at Full Council.
He spoke in support of a motion which received cross-party backing.
The motion, condemning racism and xenophobia, received support from all councillors across the political spectrum with a number of speeches saying such behaviours are not acceptable in the city.
The previous Lib Dem councillor for the area never spoke on behalf of residents in the council chamber despite representing the ward for twelve years.
Cllr Stephen Morgan said:
“Racism and xenophobia will not be tolerated in our great city. I wanted to speak in the chamber as soon as I could and to use this important motion to stand up and speak up for our diverse and cohesive communities. We have more in common than divides us, and that’s Portsmouth’s strength”.
Full council is webcast live and any member of the public is welcome to attend in the public gallery.
The full text of Stephen’s maiden speech is below:
“My Lord Mayor, I want to say a few words in the spirit of this motion and the importance of Portsmouth being a cohesive, diverse place to live.
And as my first speech in this council chamber, I promise to keep it brief unlike my Group Leader!
For centuries, as a port city, Portsmouth has welcomed people coming to our shores for trade.
Today our internationalism and outward looking approach to commerce strengthens our local economy, by creating jobs and prosperity for all, positions us as a strong and vibrant city, and as a gateway for our nation.
We have more in common, than what divides us.
In every part of our city, Pompey people with different backgrounds, nationalities and religions live cheek by jowl, and in harmony.
We don’t just tolerate our differences, we welcome them.
And whilst that hasn’t changed in the past few weeks, if people have concerns about relations between communities, they should let the police know as colleagues have said earlier.
We don’t stand by for division.
Pompey people do what is right – defending our city’s fantastic mix of diversity and tolerance and standing together against racism and xenophobia which risks hurting and dividing people living side-by-side.
This is an issue above and beyond party politics.
For this very reason, I support this motion.”