THE opposition heavily criticised the Slough Labour administration for amending a motion tackling bullying and intimidation.

At a full council meeting on April 27, Independent councillor Madhuri Bedi (Foxborough) put forward a motion for the council to take a ‘zero-tolerance’ approach within the organisation and to review the councillor code of conduct to investigate such claims in a ‘timely manner’.

She also urged the council to acknowledge ‘women in politics have been disproportionately impacted by social media abuse in recent years’ and labelling female politicians as “traitors” is inflammatory language.

Following Cllr Bedi’s resignation as a Labour member at a full council meeting on March 8, the leader of council, councillor James Swindlehurst (Lab: Cippenham Green) said the public “don’t put their faith in traitors, quitters, and splitters.”

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Cllr Bedi said: “This is a public meeting and residents watch our behaviours, and yet we ask them to have faith in us. How can they when act this way, and this type of behaviour is tolerated?”

She added: “I just feel there must be change. This behaviour and these words may seem small, but actually, they are a mountain and we do need to climb that mountain and get to a point of fairness and integrity.”

Cllr Madhuri Bedi at the Foxborough litter pick

Cllr Madhuri Bedi at the Foxborough litter pick

However, the lead member for health and wellbeing, councillor Natasa Pantelic (Lab: Cippenham Meadows), submitted an amendment to the motion, replacing the ‘zero-tolerance’ approach part with ‘reaffirm its commitment and support’ for the review of the councillor code of conduct.

The amendment also removed labelling female politicians as “traitors” as inflammatory language from the motion.

The amendment was passed with 23 for, five against, and two abstentions.

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Voting against the amendment and the amended motion, councillor Anna Wright (Con: Haymill and Lynch Hill) said she was ‘disappointed’ by Labour’s amendment to the motion, showing they ‘do tolerate’ bullying’ to some degree by removing the ‘zero-tolerance’.

The leader of the opposing Tory Party, Cllr Wayne Strutton (Haymill and Lynch Hill), added this amendment shows this council is ‘not committed to being a fit and proper organisation in regard to bullying’.

Cllr Safdar Ali (Lab: Central) said the council should be ‘moving forward’ and what this amendment will do is bring this issue to a relevant committee for discussion and debate where it will come back in an ‘acceptable form’ for all members to agree on.

The amended motion was passed with 25 votes for, three against, and three abstentions