UKIP fight to remove EU flag from chamber

AN ‘EGO trip’ saw UKIP defeated in an effort to have the European Union flag removed from West Sussex County Council headquarters.

Wednesday, 31st July 2013, 7:00 am
Sandra James UKIP for Bourne Ward, and Bernard Smith UKIP for Selsey. Picture by Kate Shemilt. C130611-2

In what was slammed as a ‘bizarre motion’, UKIP called a recorded vote at a full county council meeting on Friday (July 19) to decide the fate of the flag, which is displayed in the council chamber at County Hall.

In an overwhelming loss for the party, the motion was voted against by every non-UKIP councillor.

UKIP councillors expressed their ‘disappointment and disgust’ at the outcome.

Bourne county councillor Sandra James said afterwards: “We perceive our relationship with other European countries to be just as important as it is with all our other global neighbours.

“However we require a resistance to the stealth of EU political takeover and must send a clear message that we don’t want federal EU interference in our country.”

Michael Glennon, county councillor for Lancing, tabled the motion, calling sovereignty a ‘precious thing’.

The motion was strongly criticised across the board, with Liberal Democrat councillor James Walsh labelled it ‘gesture politics at its very worst’.

“UKIP were elected to do a job on behalf of their residents in West Sussex.

“There are whole lists of items that we’ve debated this afternoon: housing; employment; the economy; transport by road, rail and bus; social services; flooding; highways issues.

“Have we heard a squeak out of UKIP today? No.

“Their very first act in being elected to the county council is to come here and ask for an act of immature and political symbolism.

“Gesture politics – totally meaningless.

“We should reject this out of hand and consign it to the dustbin where it belongs.”

Conservative Cllr David Barling added: “If I had put down this motion I would be ashamed to go back and tell people this is how I wasted their opportunity of putting something forward to the county council.

“It’s the most bizarre motion that I’ve seen in 40 years now in local government.

“This is nothing more than an ego trip, perhaps anchored around future elections in another place.”