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DUP Lisburn mayor insists party 'loves women' despite opposing misogyny motion

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DUP Mayor Alan Givan

DUP Mayor Alan Givan

DUP Mayor Alan Givan

A DUP mayor has insisted his party "loves women" after opposing a council push to make misogyny a hate crime.

Lisburn and Castlereagh Mayor Alan Givan said a motion to support it as a stand alone offence was a "gagging order on the type of comments that so many of us often make".

He said there were "better ways to protect the ladies".

Mr Givan, the DUP's representative for Lisburn South, added: "I think it would be remiss as councillors to think that somehow that we hate women in any way or would seek to do violence to women as a party or individual councillors.

"I can safely say we love women and there is no hatred intended in what our party position is on this."

Mr Givan said Belfast DUP councillors had strayed from the party line by supporting a similar motion in March.

The motion, put forward by Green councillor Simon Lee, also asked council to recognise the affects of misogyny and transmisogyny on women, trans and non-binary people.

It passed 24 votes to 14, with one abstention.

The hostilities that I suffered at the hands of others was totally uncalled. Jenny Palmer

Jenny Palmer, a former DUP member, said she considered herself a "survivor of misogyny".

Now UUP councillor for Lisburn South, Mrs Palmer said: "It's not too far in the distant past that I myself suffered by the behaviour of individuals that disenfranchised me and the personal abuse that I took, trying to belittle me.

"The hostilities that I suffered at the hands of others was totally uncalled for - in some ways I am a victim but I like to think that I am a survivor of misogynist remarks and personal attacks on my character and so for that reason alone I support this motion."

No matter what our religious views, we have a job to protect all our citizens and that includes our trans and non-binary citizens. Simon Lee

Mr Lee said he wasn't surprised Northern Ireland "lagged behind" in legislating against domestic violence.

He rejected the argument brought by DUP councillor Nathan Anderson, who said the motion affected freedom of speech.

He added: "I think the DUP needs to reflect on how they feel about the abuse of women.

"Maybe they need to get a bit of an agreed message on that one. No matter what our religious views, we have a job to protect all our citizens and that includes our trans and non-binary citizens."

Alliance councillor Michelle Guy, who seconded the motion, said the link between misogyny and violence against women "is stark, it's upsetting and it is compelling".

She added: "I want to be clear that it's not about creating an atmosphere whereby men are having to look over their shoulders - it is not negative, it is progressive."

SDLP, Alliance, Sinn Fein, the Green Party and UUP all voted in favour. UUP's Alderman Jim Dillon abstained. DUP councillors opposed the motion.

Councillors also voted to give health workers Freedom of the City. The motion was brought by DUP Alderman James Tinsley.

A third motion to increase the number of toilets designed for people with special needs and their carers, brought by Cllr Guy, was referred to committee.

Belfast Telegraph