"We, the undersigned residents of Lewisham are alarmed at the escalating violence in Sri Lanka and the deaths of many civilians over the past few months. We note the grave concerns that many Tamil residents of the borough have for friends and relatives caught up in the conflict zone.
"We call upon the Mayor of Lewisham and Lewisham's MPs to write to the government and urge it to work to secure an immediate ceasefire in Sri Lanka and for the free and unrestricted flow of food, medicine and international aid agencies into the conflict zone. "There was a similarly worded motion proposed by Whitefoot councillor Pete Pattisson, which received cross-party support.
Wednesday was a busy night for motions, as there were 6 on the agenda, although one was withdrawn.
I proposed a motion calling on Lewisham's 3 MPs to support the Fuel Poverty private members' bill currently in parliament (Jim Dowd to his credit supported this, but Joan Ruddock as junior climate change minister talked it out, while Bridget Prentice was absent). The Mayor spoke against, arguing it would commit the government to spending lots of money on insulating houses (yes, that's the point, we want the government to spend money on that, rather than Trident and helping people buy new cars) and Labour all voted against, but it was supported by the Greens, Socialists and Lib Dems and just passed, despite an indecisive Tory failing to vote either way. Lib Dem Cllr Philip Peake had proposed a similar motion, but withdrew it and supported ours (thank you!).
Other motions included one proposed by Socialist councillor Chris Flood condemning the way Network Rail has been destroying the green corridor through New Cross and Brockley in recent months, and calling on the Mayor to contact them as a matter of urgency to ensure the area is replanted with saplings. Mike proposed a few minor amendments to correct a bit of terminology and to add a bit about enhancing biodiversity, but we were happy to support this, and it was passed unanimously.
We also supported a Labour motion calling for a new station at Surrey Canal Road as part of the East London line phase 2 works, and a Lib Dem motion on the NHS, expressing concern at any proposals to end 'co-terminosity' (this was a new term for me, but means when areas covered by a primary care trust are the same as the local authority boundaries. Seems to make sense to me, particularly in order for proper scrutiny of service provision to take place).
Well that's my review of Wednesday's Council meeting, in a nutshell, albeit somewhat tardier and less concise than the Twitters from Lewisham Central councillor Andrew Milton).