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Borough council leader condemns racist slur

Basingstoke and Deane votes to leave the EU

Jane Meredith

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Jane Meredith

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jane.meredith@newburynews.co.uk

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Borough council leader condemns racist slur

THE LEADER of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has pledged that racism will not be tolerated, after condemning an alleged racist slur affecting a BBC presenter.

This was after a majority across Basingstoke and Deane voted in favour of leaving the EU, following last Thursday’s (June 23) EU referendum, with a turn-out of 78 per cent (full results below).

Local borough councillor, Clive Sanders, (East Woodhay, Con), who is also the council's leader, today (Tues) said he was “shocked” he said, to hear that journalist, Sima Kotecha, had suffered a racist slur during a recent visit to Basingstoke.

Mr Sanders said such behaviour was not in any way typical of the borough, while residents’ feedback revealed it to be an area where the majority felt those from different backgrounds got on well together.

Mr Sanders said: “I am shocked and saddened to hear of the racist abuse suffered by BBC presenter Sima Kotecha in our borough. This behaviour has never been tolerated in Basingstoke, it cannot be justified and I wholeheartedly condemn it.

“I am very proud that our borough is culturally diverse, with 112 languages spoken every day, helping to make our communities richer for everyone who lives here. We have a thriving Multicultural Forum that brings all different ethnic minority groups in the borough together and only last weekend was this work very happily celebrated by more than 2,000 people from all backgrounds at the annual World Party in the park.

“I hope and believe that this is an isolated incident but I want to be clear that the strongest possible action will be taken against anyone guilty of racism. Every one of us has a duty to challenge racism and intolerance wherever it happens and people must report any incidents to the police so that they can be acted on.”

On Monday (June 27), the Conservative MP for North West Hampshire, Kit Malthouse, condemned “disgusting racist incidents” following last week’s EU referendum.

Kit Malthouse, who campaigned for a leave vote, was speaking after the nation elected to leave the European Union in an historic referendum on June 23 and said he was "Profoundly disturbed," by the "disgusting racist incidents," he said that had taken place over the weekend.

“While immigration has undoubtedly been an issue in this campaign, it is a difficult and thorny one, and talk of ‘curbs’ or ‘controls’ will always give succour to racists and xenophobes," said Mr Malthouse. 

It was possibly he said to engage with the referendum debate whilst being positive about immigration.

“Immigrants are welcome in the UK, both from within and outside the EU, and we should all value their contribution culturally and economically," he said. 

The number of votes in the Basingstoke and Deane voting area, as declared by counting officer Laura Taylor, were as follows:

Votes recorded:
Remain in the European Union 48,257
Leave the European Union 52,071
The number of ballot papers rejected was as follows –
Number of ballot papers
Want of official mark 0
Voting for more answers than required 25
Writing or mark by which voter could be identified 2
Being unmarked or void for uncertainty 40
Total 67
The turnout was 78 per cent

EU referendum results across North Hampshire included: 

Basingstoke and Deane:

Remain –  48.1 per cent, Leave - 51.9 per cent

This was similar to the result for South East England:

Remain – 48.2 per cent, Leave - 51.8 per cent

National figures were also similar:

Remain – 48.1 per cent,  Leave – 51.9 per cent

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