Councillor Jonny Morris

Party: Labour

Ward: Southway

Other councillors representing this Ward:

Contact information

Phone:  01752 695869

Email:  jonny.morris@plymouth.gov.uk

Bus. mobile:  07766 161163

Twitter :  @jonnymorris

Plymouth City Council is not responsible for the content of any external link

Committee appointments

Terms of Office

  • 26/05/2014 - 03/05/2018
  • 03/05/2018 - 05/05/2022

Appointments to outside bodies

Additional Information

 

 

 

Community Grants 2020/21

Description

Amount  

May-20

£500.00

To help support North Plymouth Food Bank with food and supplies for local people in crisis.

£500.00

Jun-20

£250.00

To support DCFA Plymouth Hub with providing food and emergency help for vulnerable families

£250.00

Grand Total

£750.00

 

 

 

Community Grants Scheme 2019/20

Description

Amount

Nov-19

 

To provide activities and events to benefit stroke survivors and to help rebuild their lives

£250.00

Grand Total

£250.00

 

 

 

Community Grants Scheme 2018/19

Description

Amount

Mar-19

 

Plymouth Miniature Steam at Goodwin Park, Southway. Major works, including track-laying, path-building, purchase of gates and surface drainage works. Will benefit users of the railway from all over Plymouth, especially children, and the community of Southway who use the park area for general recreation. Also increases ease of access to Southway Nature Reserve and for people with mobility problems and baby buggies.

£3,500.00

Grand Total

£3,500.00

 

 

 

Community Grant Scheme 2016 to 2017

Description

Amount

Bunting for the Tamerton Foliot Carnival Association

£50.00

Community Memorial Garden

£250.00

Equipment & kit for u15's boys football team

£250.00

Memorial Bench

£250.00

Grand Total

£800.00

 

 

 

Community Grant Scheme 2015 to 2016

Description

Amount

Equipment for Little Blossoms Day Nursery (joint application With Councillor Parker Delaz Ajete £250)

£250

New equipment for Southway Community Centre (joint application with Councillor Parker Delaz Ajete £500)

£500

Safety equipment for skateboarding – North Plymouth Youth Project (joint application with Councillor Parker Delaz Ajete £500)

£500

Southway Thursday Fellowship – party for elderly residents (joint application with Councillor Parker Delaz Ajete £250)

£250

Donation to Plymouth Foodbank (joint application with Councillor Parker Delaz Ajete £500)

£500

Southway Playcare – support for various activities (joint application with Councillor Parker Delaz Ajete £250)

£250

Youth Enquiry Service (The Zone) support for the RAT project which supports the homeless, domestic violence, unemployed & combating drug misuse (joint application with Councillor Parker Delaz Ajete £1300)

£1500

 

 

 

Community Grant Scheme 2014 to 2015

Description

Amount

Parent & toddler group (joint application with Councillor Parker £500 & Councillor J Smith £500)

£500

Conservation projects in Tamerton Foliot Village (joint application with Councillor John Smith £300)

£300

Contribution towards new boiler & heating system for Holy Spirit church hall

£2700

 

 

 

News

PLYMOUTH CITY COUNCIL

 

COUNCILLORS’ CODE OF CONDUCT

 

FINDING OF FAILURE

DECISION NOTICE

 

COUNCILLOR JONNY MORRIS

 

 

1.0         Background Information/context

 

1.1       At a heated Council budget setting meeting on 27 February 2017, a Labour Group Member of Plymouth City Council, Councillor Jonny Morris, made a fascist or Nazi style salute/gesture in protest at a move by the Conservative Group to close down discussion through a Motion to Move to a vote.

 

1.2       The salute/gesture was made by Councillor Morris as the Council’s Monitoring Officer was taking a recorded vote (following a request by the Labour Group) which was caught on the live webcast.  This now archived webcast and the images of Councillor Morris making the gesture has received widespread press and media attention at both local and national level.  This has been exacerbated further through images on social media, all of which have inevitably had a negative impact upon the reputation of the Council.

 

1.3       Councillor Morris apologised for his behaviour at the meeting, following a request that he did so from the Lord Mayor who Chaired the meeting.  He subsequently issued further apologies publicly and was, following a swift investigation, disciplined by his Political Group.  Specifically, Councillor Morris received a 3 month suspension from the Labour Group from 1 March 2017 and a series of other sanctions imposed:  he will be on probation with a leading Member of the Labour Group for 12 months from 1 June 2017; he has to undertake specialist diversity training (costs being met by the Labour Group) plus, in addition to the apologies he has already made publicly, he has had to make a written apology to the Standing Advisory Committee on Religious Education of which he is a Member.

 

2.0         Code of Conduct Breach Allegations

 

2.1       Shortly following the gesture, the Monitoring Officer received complaints from Members of the Council and Members of the public that Councillor Morris, through his actions, had breached the Councillors’ Code of Conduct.

 

3.0       Code of Conduct Breach Findings

 

3.1       Following an investigation by the Council’s Monitoring Officer the following was found in upholding the Code of Conduct complaints referenced in paragraph 2.1 above.

 

 

Councillors’ Code of Conduct

 

The Code applies to Councillors when they:

 

Para 3(a)       Conduct the business of the Council (including the business of their office as a Councillor or co-opted Member)

 

Findings:       

 

It is a matter of fact that at the time of the gesture, Councillor Morris was conducting the business of the Council in that he was participating in a meeting of the Council during a recorded vote which was being taken by the Monitoring Officer.

 

Accordingly, the Code of Conduct applied at the time the gesture was made. 

 

In applying the Code of Conduct the following paragraphs are relevant:

 

Para 5 Courtesy and Equality

 

Councillors must treat other people with courtesy and must not bully anyone.  They

must not do anything that could lead the Council to break equality laws.

 

The general equality duty applies to ‘public authorities’.  In summary, those subject to the general equality duty must, in the exercise of their function, have due regard to the need to:

 

  • Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Act.

 

  • Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.

 

  • Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.

 

These are often referred to as the three main aims of the general equality duty.

 

Protected characteristics are age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, sex, sexual orientation and race – this includes ethnic or national origins, colour or nationality, religion or belief (or lack of belief).

 

Findings:       

 

The Court of Appeal in 2013 recognised Nazi salutes as evidence of racist behaviour in the case of Crown-v-Hennigan.  The European Court of Human Rights has also recognised that Nazi salutes can be evidence of a hate crime if part of a pattern of behaviour – Balazs-v-Hungary, September 2015 refers.

 

The Association of Chief Police Officers and the Crown Prosecution Service have agreed a common definition of hate crime:  ‘Any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s race or perceived race; religion or perceived religion; sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation; disability or perceived disability and any crime motivated by hostility or prejudice against a person who is transgender or perceived to be transgender’.

 

I am not suggesting that the actions of Councillor Morris constituted a hate crime, though I am aware that complaints were made to Devon & Cornwall Constabulary about just that.  It is my understanding that the Police did not pursue their investigations as a hate crime, but as a potential Public Order Offence.  I am not aware that any charges were brought in this regard, so that is not a factor I have considered as part of my Assessment.  It is, however, my Assessment that the Nazi/fascist gesture was evidence of racist behaviour and the 2013 Court of Appeal decision in Hennigan supports that view.  It is clear that some Members of the City Council and some Members of the public who viewed the gesture found it discourteous.  Whilst I am not suggesting that as an isolated incident it has resulted in the Council breaking equality laws, it must be possible that these actions could be seen to lead the Council to do just that, or at least put the council at risk of so doing.

 

Accordingly, I uphold the complaints made in this regard in that I find that Councillor Morris’ actions were in breach of Para 5 of the Councillors’ Code of conduct.

 

Para 10 Disrepute

 

Councillors must not act in a manner which could be seen to bring the Council or the role of Councillor into disrepute.

 

Findings

 

As referenced in paragraph 1.2 above, the wide spread distribution of the images of the gesture made by Councillor Morris, which I have found to breach Paragraph 5 of the Code of Conduct, inevitably could be seen to have brought disrepute on the Council, the role of Councillor Morris or indeed the role of Councillors in general.  Nothing positive could have come from the association of the Council or its Councillors with the gesture which, as I have found, was evidence of racist behaviour. 

 

Accordingly, I uphold the complaints made in this regard in that I find that Councillor Morris’ actions were in breach of Para 10 of the Councillors’ Code of Conduct.

 

4.0       Sanctions for breach of the Code

 

4.1       Given that I have found that through his actions, Councillor Morris had breached the Code of Conduct, I consulted with the Council’s Standards Advisory Group (SAG) on what, if any sanctions should be imposed in respect of the breach (Stage 3 Investigation Process requirements – Para 3.3.2 Part G Codes & Protocols contained within Constitution refer).

 

4.2       The SAG met on 13 and 22 March during which it undertook a detailed examination of any previous similarly recorded cases as a comparator.  The SAG were greatly assisted in this respect through information provided by the Council’s Monitoring Officer from Hoey Ainscough Ltd which provides specialist local governance support to Local Authorities in managing their arrangements for handling councillor conduct issues.

 

4.3       Having undertaken this exercise; considered the possible sanctions available under the Code (as referenced in Para 3.3.3 – Stage 3 Investigative Process Requirements – Part G Codes & Protocols – Council Constitution); had regard to the fact that under the Code there is no power to suspend or disqualify a Councillor or to withdraw a Councillor’s allowances and reflected all of these against the sanctions imposed on Councillor Morris by the Labour Group (as referred to in Para 1.3 of the Decision Notice) the SAG unanimously concluded/decided that (extract from decision made and notified to Councillor Morris and Labour Group Leader):

 

‘…. those [sanctions’] already imposed by the Labour Group were both reasonable and proportionate’

 

‘the SAG acknowledges that a three month suspension from Labour Group activity through withdrawal of the Whip; a twelve month probationary period under the supervision of Councillor Lowry; a requirement to undertake specialist diversity training and a further requirement to send a written apology to the Chair of The Standing Advisory Committee on Religious Education were appropriate and desirable.  The SAG also acknowledged the public apologies made by Councillor Morris, initially when requested to do so by the Lord Mayor on 27 February 2017, but also subsequently’.

 

5.0       Monitoring Officer Decision Summary

 

5.1       That through his actions at a Council’s budget setting meeting held on 27 February 2017, Councillor Morris failed to comply with the Council’s Code of Conduct (Para 3 of the Decision Notice refers).

 

5.2       That, following the advice of the Council’s cross party Standards Advisory Group, the sanctions imposed upon Councillor Morris by the Labour Group were reasonable and proportionate.  No further sanctions should be imposed therefore in respect of the Code breach.

 

6.0       Conclusion

 

6.1       In accordance with Para 3.3.1 – Stage 3 Investigation – Process Requirements – Part G Codes & Protocols – Council Constitution:

 

(a)        this report stands as a summary of my findings and at Para 5.0, is contained a statement of the findings;

 

(b)        a copy has been sent to Councillor Morris and the Leader of the Labour Group, Councillor Tudor Evans, and

 

(c)        the full report has been published on the Council’s website.

 

6.2       In accordance with the provisions of the Localism Act 2011 and as reflected in the Council’s Constitution, the decision of the Monitoring Officer is final.  There is no entitlement to appeal against the Monitoring Officer decision on a complaint, however, a complaint can be made on issues of process/procedure to the Local Government Ombudsman.

 

6.3       I conclude by thanking all Members of the cross party Standards Advisory Group for their advice and support throughout my investigation, assessment and findings.

 

 

 

 

David Shepperd MSc, Solicitor

Monitoring Officer

Plymouth City Council

 

13 April 2017