CONTROVERSIAL comments from a Ukip councillor were widely condemned as ‘outrageous’ during a passionate full council debate yesterday
Portsmouth Ukip group leader Colin Galloway faced a barrage of criticism from councillors across parties following his motion to council to demand the removal of the city’s homeless, labelling them as an ‘unwelcome detritus’.
Scores of protesters chanted for his resignation in Guildhall Square ahead of the meeting and Councillor Paul Godier – the city’s homelessness champion – delivered a passionate rebuke of the comments during the debate.
He questioned the councillor’s claims that the recently-disbanded homeless working group had not achieved anything during the past year.
Speaking directly to Cllr Galloway – who sat on the group – Cllr Godier said: ‘This is hateville. You sat on the group, if you had read what our aims were, you would see that we achieved our goal.
‘To say nothing has happened is wrong and it is bad. I know Colin likes to play the devil’s advocate, but this is a hate message.
I spent ten years on the these streets. I beg, I stole and I peed on doorways so I know what it is like. You are tarnishing our own work and I think it is not acceptable.Councillor Paul Godier
‘I spent 10 years on the streets. I begged and I stole and I know what it’s like.
‘You are tarnishing our own work and I think it is not acceptable.’
Councillor Matthew Winnington said of the motion: ‘This really is a disgrace and does not show the reality of the homeless in our city.’
Council leader Donna Jones tabled an amendment to the motion, supported by Lib Dem opposition leader Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson which replaced Cllr Galloway’s motion, placing the authority’s praise on record for the work done by charities and others to help the homeless.
Cllr Jones said: ‘We will help Portsmouth’s homeless. There is no reason why somebody should be homeless in our city.
‘If they are from here, then we will help them.’
Cllr Galloway stood by his motion and read it out to council. It was later rejected by all parties except Ukip and the amendment was then passed.
Following the vote, Cllr Galloway said: ‘I am glad that the motion got everybody engaged in the issue. I sincerely hope it has woken everybody up to the problem.
‘I see this a commitment to now get things done.’