Black councillor fights on in her bid to make history in Milton Keynes

    A councillor is fighting on to clear her name and make history as the first black female deputy mayor for Milton Keynes.

    Moriah Priestley was just hours away from being confirmed to the ceremonial post in May when a whistleblower made allegations about a business investment.

    Cllr Priestley (Central MK) launched a rigorous defence after an unnamed person claimed she had been scammed and wanted payment to cover lost interest.

    She said the business had never started and she gave the money back.

    Cllr Priestley will automatically become mayor next year if she is confirmed as deputy at a meeting in September.

    At a meeting of the full council on Wednesday Cllr Priestley spoke in a debate to support the Black Lives Matter movement.

    She said: “I think of the battle and the trauma I am facing now and the way that my private life has been dragged into the public, forcing me to engage in a battle to defend myself against the media and against a range of people who do not want me to succeed either because of who I am, or possibly because of my colour, all in the name of probity and accountability.

    Cllr Priestley added: “Sometimes in my anguish I wonder if I was a white male from a middle class background my journey to this mayoral appointment maybe would have been different.”

    She said she was grateful for support from the Labour group and other politicians in the city.

    She says the support is “giving me the strength and the will and the courage to fight on until I win.”

    To Cllr Priestley becoming the first black female mayor next year would “attest to the will of this city to stand for the BLM (Black Lives Matter) movement.”

    She told councillors that she intends to “give my all to make you leaders of the city, the citizens and my own black community proud. Another injustice overcome.”

    She also spoke of wanting to  stamp out cultural and structural violence against people from this community.

    “It’s time to make history. The time for action is now. Black lives matter in Milton Keynes.”

    The council unanimously voted to support Black Lives Matter

    Cllr Priestley also spoke of the battles faced by others in the black and minority ethnic community against wrong and grievous stereotypes.

    This included being with one black chief executive who was told to wait in the janitor’s area despite being present to chair a meeting full of Government executives.

    “for me it was painful to watch as I have grown through the years and seen displayed time and time again,” she added.

    Council leader Cllr Pete Marland (Lab, Wolverton) told Wednesday’s meeting that he understood that the appointment of the deputy mayor was on the agenda for the September meeting of the council.

    “Cllr Priestley has a personal matter to resolve,” he added. “When I fully accept that the matter has been concluded, we will proceed to make a nomination in September.”

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