Oxfordshire County Council’s vegan lunches to continue after motion fails

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The vegan meals will continue at the council after Mr Reeves’ motion was defeated

A council has voted against scrapping vegan lunches for councillors at their monthly meetings and civic events.

Earlier this year Oxfordshire County Council adopted a policy to serve only plant-based meals at meetings to tackle climate change.

A motion from the Conservatives’ group leader Eddie Reeves called for all catering to be scrapped at events unless it is considered “essential”.

His motion was defeated at the Lib Dem, Labour and Green-controlled council.

Mr Reeves said the authority should “reprioritise” its spending and give the money spent on catering to good causes.

Farmers, including Jeremy Clarkson who runs a farm in Chadlington, opposed the switch to vegan meals. The former Top Gear presenter said it was “utter madness”.

Liz Leffman and Jeremy ClarksonLiz Leffman and Jeremy Clarkson

Council leader Liz Leffman (left) and Jeremy Clarkson (right) discussed the meals in Oxford earlier this year

The council’s leader Liz Leffman said the £6,000 catering contract with a Kidlington company, which sources food from Woodstock, was helping to support local business.

She asked Mr Reeves: “Are you seriously suggesting that we should, for the sake of appearances, take away a contract from a small business in our area and somehow donate to support residents of this county when we are doing a great deal ourselves?

“Businesses need to survive in this county, as well as individuals.”

The authority announced a £2m emergency welfare scheme for Oxfordshire residents in September.

Seventeen councillors supported Mr Reeves’ motion at Tuesday’s meeting. Another 37 voted against.

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