THE appearance of a banana and a cucumber at a council meeting drew raised eyebrows as the Brexit question was debated.
John Perry, a Hayling Ukip councillor, produced the groceries as exhibits as he raised a motion for Conservative-led Havant Borough Council to agree that Britain would be better off outside the EU. But, in some heated exchanges, his motion was criticised by other councillors, who argued it was not a matter for a local authority.
Addressing last night’s full council meeting, Cllr Perry said: ‘Our responsibilities as councillors include making Havant a good place to live, to work and to learn and EU regulations are damaging small businesses.’
Cllr Perry, who was supported by fellow Ukip Cllr Gary Kerrin, said he had spoken to a resident who runs a fishing business which he said was being harmed by EU rules.
He said: ‘Discarding is now banned, so fishermen cannot release undersize live fish; instead they are brought into port and disposed of in a tip.’
Producing the food items, he said: ‘This is a banana and this is a cucumber; bananas and cucumbers with abnormal curvature (that is over 10 degrees) were banned from 1995, although the ban was later repealed.
‘You may find this amusing but it is not, and such healthy produce could not be sold and led to tonnes of good food being destroyed.’
When Cllr Perry produced the food items, Purbrook Cllr Gwen Blackett stood up and said ‘this is quite wrong’ after previously saying that Ukip’s motion was ‘out of order’.
Cllr Perry added that leaving the EU would result in a fall in food prices.
Deputy leader Tony Briggs said Ukip’s attempt to get a recorded vote was aimed at ‘embarrassing’ members.
He said: ‘I see this as nothing more than a cynical attempt to get us to declare where we stand on this issue.’
Emsworth councillor Brendan Gibb-Gray said it was ‘a political stunt’ and said the government had given every voter the free will to vote in a referendum.
Following an adjournment to discuss legalities, Cllr Briggs called for the motion to be withdrawn from the agenda. All the other councillors – including Labour and Lib Dem members – voted to remove it.
After the meeting Cllr Perry told The News: ‘This was an apolitical motion.
‘We should act in the best interests of our residents.’
Last month Portsmouth City Council, which is also Conservative-controlled, voted to back leaving the EU.