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"Wrong decision" made over South Kesteven District Council flying rainbow flag

A senior South Kesteven councillor has admitted the council made the “wrong decision” when it voted not to fly the rainbow flag last year.

The confession from deputy leader Kelham Cooke came after Labour group leader Phil Dilks asked why the council flew the flag this year, adding what had changed since 2018?

The Deepings councillor told last week’s meeting of SKDC’s cabinet that after the flag was raised in February above Grantham’s council offices to mark LGBT History Month, the council issued a press release featuring leader Matthew Lee saying the flag was being flown to “show respect.”

Coun Cooke (Con-Casewick) said the council “got that decision wrong last year.”

This year, public buildings all over the country were flying the rainbow flag, and “the leader felt we should (also) fly it.”

Coun Cooke added: “I think we will fly it again next year.”

Coun Dilks responded it would have been ‘nice’ to invite Grantham Labour councillor Tracey Foreman to the raising of the flag this year as it was her whose motion to raise the Labour flag was defeated last year.

Last year, when Coun Foreman failed in her bid to have the rainbow flag flown she saiddespite Grantham having a gay bishop and MP, there was still much discrimination and flying the flag would be a sign of visible support, especially to young people who may face discrimination.

Coun Lee (Con-Stamford St Mary’s), who is gay himself, admitted he had been blackmailed twice over his sexuality. He said he had been openly gay for many years and that someone could try and blackmail a council leader over this was ‘ridiculous.’ But the council received many requests for flags to be flown from its buildings.

However, last year, SKDC overwhelmingly approved other parts of Coun Foreman’s motion, namely to publicise LGBT history month on the council website, along with details on how to report hate crime.

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