Row breaks out after claims 'gender critical' books removed from Calderdale library shelves
and live on Freeview channel 276
The matter was raised by Councillor Regan Dickenson (Con, Rastrick) at a meeting of Caderdale Council’s cabinet following a story in The Telegraph which alleged some books by “gender critical” authors were being removed from public view at the borough’s libraries.
The council’s head of legal, Ian Hughes, read out a letter from Coun Dickenson, who was not at the meeting at Halifax Town Hall.
It said: “Recently journalists uncovered Calderdale Council Libraries are removing books off shelves.
“This is in the context of the debate around gender identity.
“Whilst I appreciate this is a sensitive topic, we live in a liberal democracy with freedom of speech, freedom of thought, and individual liberty enshrined in our way of life.
“These principles are the differentiating factor between western democracies and totalitarian states, so these actions by the council are entirely unacceptable.
“Therefore, why is the council trying to stifle free speech, and will the council put these books back?
“Also, would the cabinet agree that it is far better to engage with people with whom we disagree and argue the case for our beliefs, rather than cancel those ideas we find offensive?"
Cabinet member for Public Services and Communities, Coun Jenny Lynn (Lab, Park) thanked him for his question and said while some books had been removed, politics was not behind the decision.
“The decision to remove certain books from library shelves was not a political decision,” she said.
“It was a consequence of an internal human resources matter, and as such cannot be discussed further.”
Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker (Conservative) has also waded into the issue on social media, accusing the council of being “woke”.
Mr Whittaker, who is standing down at the next general election, tweeted: “What a load of tosh! This is the woke brigade at Calderdale Council shown at its best! (Not!)
“It’s about time we got people employed by the council who applied common sense instead of this ‘Nanny State, we know what’s best for people’ rubbish. Will they ever learn?”
His comments have in turn been heavily criticised by commentators who say he should find out what the “internal HR matter” is and avoid using the term woke as a “slur”.