Labour-led Milton Keynes Council is standing against racism. Council Leader Pete Marland has released a statement in light of an increase in reports of racist incidents elsewhere in the country since the EU referendum last week
Statement on hate crime incidents and the EU
"The past week has been one of the most tumultuous in living memory.
I did not vote to leave the EU. I’m disappointed with the result. However the result must be respected by all sides.
Milton Keynes is, and will always remain, an open, friendly and outward looking city. A City that welcomes everyone. The vast majority of our population have arrived here from somewhere else, or are the children or grandchildren of people who came to MK from all over England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Europe and the rest of the world to live, work and enjoy Milton Keynes and our quality of life.
I am shocked and appalled that a tiny minority of people appear to believe that the result is a vindication of some hateful, xenophobic ideas, and that may have led to an increase in racist abuse incidents. We totally reject this awful and sickening behaviour.
Milton Keynes Council is currently working with Thames Valley Police to find out if there has been any increase in hate crime in Milton Keynes, however it is important to say that if you are the victim of such a crime or witness an incident, you should report it to the police.
It is clear to me that the overwhelming majority of people who voted to leave the EU are not racist and would condemn the actions of a tiny few as strongly as I do. Members of my own family voted Leave, they are not racist.
We will be working with our partners and local groups to ensure that our wonderful and cohesive City remains a beacon of tolerance. Tomorrow I will be attending an Iftar Party to celebrate Eid, an example of our diverse communities in MK. We will also be discussing this at our Cabinet next week and our next Full Council meeting.
I know that this is a difficult time. Nationally our political leaders in Westminster have let us all down badly. I am determined here at a local level, that by working together on a cross party basis with our MPs, our councillors and other community groups we can provide the Leadership that has been so desperately lacking nationally.
I will I do all I can ensure that MK remains a great place to live, work and visit and is no home for hate or extremism of any kind. Now is the time to come together, not push our communities apart. I want to restate my support, and the support of MK Council, to all our different communities. Every person is welcome here in MK.
Cllr Peter Marland
Leader, Milton Keynes Council & Councillor for Wolverton ward.