What have President Donald Trump and the comedian Roy Chubby Brown got in common?
Answer: They have both been subject to Ashfield council bans.
Their names will now be forever intertwined – in Ashfield at least – as the unlikely pair have both now fallen foul of decisions passed by Ashfield District Council.
At the latest full council meeting, members agreed the authority will take “no formal part in any state visit to the UK by the US President and to withhold any council resources from being used to support any such state visit”.
Last year, foul-mouthed raconteur Brown was stopped from performing in council venues in the district.
Proposed by Councillor Helen-Ann Smith, an Independent, the latest motion means banning the use of any council funds to welcome President Trump to provide hospitality if he were to visit the district as part of a UK tour.
The move was prompted by concerns the UK Government has decided to invite him for a state visit and his subsequent ban on residents from predominantly Muslim countries from visiting the USA.
Coun Smith said the Presidents’ measures were “extreme and discriminatory” and some residents of Ashfield had now been barred from visiting the USA as a result.
However, Coun Ben Bradley, a Conservative, called the motion a “complete waste of time”.
He said: “Our views in this chamber on whether he visits or not are irrelevant. If he did come it would be an economic boost. If I find out he is planning to visit Idlewells or Kirkby Plaza, I am willing to rush down for an emergency debate on who is paying.”
Coun Cheryl Butler, leader of the Labour-controlled council, said she would probably join a protest line herself if the president came, but added: “If bringing this motion is not a waste of our money, I don’t know what is.”
And Coun Lauren Mitchell, a Labour representative, pointed out the council’s decision to ban Chubby Brown from its venues last year had been heavily criticised by the opposition group at the time.
But Coun Smith insisted her motion was based on purely financial grounds.
She said: “I have no wish to ban President Trump. I don’t care if he comes to this country and visits Ashfield or not, but we should not have to pay for it when we are being asked to make cuts of £500,000 a year.”
Backing the motion, Coun Nicolle Ndiweni said the USA was one of the UK’s oldest allies, but President Trump’s “racist views” and sexism were not welcome.
She said: “Never underestimate the power of a man or woman with influence . History shows the consequence of good people who do nothing.”
Coun Mike Smith, Labour member for Kingsway, said as Mr Trump’s projected visit was as a visiting head of state, the Crown would probably pick up the tab.