AT the last BCP Council meeting I was appalled at the attitude of the deputy leader, who stated he felt the IHRA definition of antisemitism was not acceptable. This was his response to a motion asking council to condemn any form of discrimination and to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism.

He maintained that it would stifle freedom of speech and would not accept my explanation that it does not. Government guidance clearly states "that an existing caveat, that “criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic”, was “sufficient to ensure freedom of speech”.

It is a common standard adopted by the London Assembly, the Scottish Government and the UK Government. While the definition is “legally non-binding” it is nevertheless an “important tool” for criminal justice agencies and other public bodies. It sets the framework by which all those who have adopted this definition will handle matters of antisemitism.

While I am heartened that every other elected member present did support the original motion to adopt the IHRA definition, the deputy leader voted against. In doing so he has sent a clear message that because he did not get the outcome he wanted, he disregards all need to condemn discrimination of any kind.

I fear for the council's reputation with such a person as its deputy leader.

CLLR MAY HAINES, Canford Cliffs ward