A CROSS-PARTY motion to diversify the council and tackle racism within the Royal Borough was passed – but not without some resistance.

At a full council meeting on October 27 (Tuesday), a majority of members voted in favour of a motion to make the council ‘an organisation open for all’, put forward by councillor Ross McWilliams (Conservative: Cox Green) and seconded by councillor Widsom Da Costa (West Windsor Residents’ Association: Clewer and Dedworth West) .

Actions arising from the motion – which is set out in three parts – include collecting and analysing data to see how well the council and its members reflect the demographic make-up of the Royal Borough and UK, and to identify any steps to improve any disparity.

This also includes introducing mandatory training, such as unconscious bias training, for all councillors and council staff – which involves teaching and learning Britain’s colonial past and slavery.

READ MORE: Government called to rethink free school meals vote by Maidenhead councillor

A letter will also be sent to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson urging him to diversify the national school curriculum to ensure it includes Black History Month, colonialism, and Britain’s role in the transatlantic slave trade as well as race and gender equality.

The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead will also invite Mr Williamson to their gender and race equality conference, to ‘identify the challenges and celebrate the achievements of people of colour’ in the borough.

The motion was created by members across the political spectrum, including Cllrs McWilliams, Wisdom Da Costa, Amy Tisi (Liberal Democrats: Clewer East), and Stuart Carroll (Conservative: Boyn Hill).

Cllr Tisi said this motion is a commitment to start a conversion about inequality within the borough ‘whatever form this may take’.

She said: “As members, we must set an example and educate ourselves through appropriate training to prevent unintentional micro-aggressions of the kind I sadly witnessed in council meetings, such as people mixing up people’s names and confusing people, as well as allowing exploration and awareness of larger issues such as the lack of diversity in councillors.”

READ MORE: BBC Eastenders star Danny Dyer: 'People who went to Eton can't run this country'

However, not all members were in support of this.

Voting against, councillor Maureen Hunt (Conservative: Hurley and Walthams) questioned why this motion was brought forward when the council already has and follows equality laws, code of conduct, and a constitution as well as a voluntary constructive diversity network meeting and a mandatory staff module to cover this.

Cllr Hunt added there’s no evidence that unbiased training works and suggested the borough should be talking about today’s slavery rather than slavery in Britain’s colonial days.

She said: “We’re talking about slavery. Don’t we need to teach and educated everyone about slavery that’s going on today?

“In today’s and age, it’s far more important that people learn about slavery now, to help the people now, not from the past – that’s unfortunate.”

READ MORE: Windsor & Maidenhead locals urged to stay home on Remembrance Sunday

Councillor Leo Walters (Conservative: Bray) – who also voted against the motion – said celebrating people of colour in borough should include everyone, including white people, as it will cause “isolation” and “division”.

He said: “Why just the people of colour? What about the other people who may be white, why not celebrate them?

“That’s discrimination in itself talking about one [group] and it isolates them. These sorts of things are completely unnecessary and what they do is divide and create division, not unitary amongst people.”

The motion carried with 31 councillors for, two against and seven abstentions.