DELEGATES at the National Union of Teachers (NUT) conference objected to a former Ukip candidate speaking out in opposition to an anti-racism motion yesterday.
NUT Kirklees delegate Aleksandar Lukic had already raised eyebrows at the conference when he voiced support for grammar schools on Saturday.
Yesterday afternoon, Mr Lukic, who stood for Ukip in the West Yorkshire constituency of Batley and Spen at the 2015 general election, alleged that an anti-racist campaigner had grabbed the rosette of a fellow Ukip campaigner when canvassing for the party.
Urging delegates to vote against a motion reasserting the union’s anti-racism work, he stressed he was “severely troubled by the plight of child refugees” and urged “credit where credit’s due” for anti-racist campaigning undertaken by the union.
However, he claimed that opposing Donald Trump’s travel ban and not those of other countries would make the NUT guilty of “double standards.”
The speech was greeted by guffaws from some delegates, while others attempted to raise points of order.
Croydon delegate Lorraine Hunte reminded delegates of Mr Lukic’s Ukip electoral activity, and added: “We as Croydon are not prepared to tolerate any nonsense from anyone such as Farage, Nuttall and their like.”
She won applause and led a chant of: “Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here.”
The conference awarded Newcastle teacher Daniel Kebede its annual Blair Peach award, named after a teacher and anti-racist activist who died after being knocked unconscious, most likely by a police officer, while protesting against a National Front meeting in 1979.
“May each and every one of us go back to our schools, go back to our communities, build a world where black lives matter … and all forms of racism no longer exist but are taught about in history books,” Mr Kebede said.