The leaders of political parties across Basingstoke have come together to express their sympathy to the family of George Floyd and condem racism. 

In a joint statement, councillors have pledged to confront racism in all its forms to ensure the town remains a "safe and inclusive" space.

Leader of the council Cllr Ken Rhatigan (Conservative), Cllr Andrew McCormick (Labour), Cllr Ian Tilbury (Independent) and Cllr Gavin James (Lib Dem) released the statement on Friday night.

It reads:

As the leaders of all political groups at Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, we are uniting to reconfirm that Basingstoke and Deane stands in solidarity with all those who reject violence and oppose racism in all its forms.

At a time when the coronavirus pandemic has impacted our lives so deeply, we’ve seen that kindness, compassion, fairness and respect are strong in our communities. But during these already difficult times, the death of George Floyd on the streets of Minneapolis has shocked and saddened us. It has reminded us that we cannot be complacent and we must all continue to fight against prejudice and injustice.

We want to express our sympathy with George’s family, friends and community and our support for those that have raised their voices across the world in peaceful and safe protest, that doesn’t put more lives in danger, to show that black lives matter and that things have to change.

If we do not speak up when we see such injustice then we are not supporting an inclusive society, and that is what we stand for in Basingstoke and Deane. We are proud to be a safe, welcoming and diverse borough that does not tolerate racism, intolerance or injustice of any kind.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council will always condemn and confront racism and will work with our partners, including Hampshire Constabulary and Basingstoke Multicultural Forum, and our residents and businesses to ensure that the borough is a safe and tolerant place for all. We must do all we can as civic leaders in demonstrating how we value inclusivity and will protect and champion those who are experiencing violence or discrimination. We pledge together to continue to recognise and celebrate diversity and continue to make our borough a place where everyone is welcome and treated fairly and with respect.

Cllr Ken Rhatigan (Conservative), Leader of the Council
Cllr Andrew McCormick, Leader of the Labour Group
Cllr Ian Tilbury, Leader, Basingstoke and Deane Independents
Cllr Gavin James, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group