Sexism row breaks out at Ryedale Council meeting

A sexism row broke out at a Ryedale Council meeting after a councillor claimed it should appoint someone to a committee who was not a “middle-aged man”.

Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 3:32 pm
Ryedale Council building. Picture: JPI Media
Ryedale Council building. Picture: JPI Media

Independent Group leader Cllr Lindsay Burr came out on top in a vote last night to represent the district authority on North Yorkshire’s Police, Fire and Crime Panel, beating out Conservative Cllr Michael Cleary for the position.

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The Liberal Democrat and Independent Group member said: “After serving on the committee myself – and everybody remembers my comments on it – I do think that Cllr Burr would be a better option just to change the dynamics of the committee rather than the usual middle-aged men.”

Councillor Lindsay Burr.

Conservative Cllr Caroline Goodrick responded that it was an “inequitable” statement for a councillor to make.

She said: “We are an equal opportunity council, we should be affording everybody an equal opportunity. Just because you are a woman shouldn’t just mean you get a chance to go on the police and crime panel.”

In response Cllr Middleton responded that she had previously raised concerns about the crime panel and that was informing her decision.

She added: “I think I have a right to have my say and I am allowed to vote for a female to go onto that committee.”

The former leader of the council, Conservative Cllr Keane Duncan, said he worried that the comments could be seen as “discriminatory”.

Cllr Cleary described the talk about gender as “nonsense”, adding: “I’m astounded that in this year that I am being criticized for my gender and my age.

“I have never thought to myself that I am middle-aged but I suppose I am.”

Cllr Burr was voted onto the panel by 14 votes to 11.

She said she had a “deep respect” for Cllr Cleary. She said: “I put myself forward for this because I do have a very deep interest in this area.

“As an adult and children safeguarding officer I am really aware of deprivation and social issues that seem to be arising and the police are actually having to deal with these issues.

“It was raised at a meeting recently that the police are doing more and more work on social issues and that is something that I would like to explore and understand about.”

Cllr Burr said she would bring a “different stance” to the panel and pledged to do her best for the councillors.