I personally disagree with @LeoGibbons votes on both items, but respect his right to vote how he wishes. However, in a party system it isn’t too surprising that he has some form of censure when he votes against his party whip (or deliberately abstains).
I find it difficult to take issue with the planning motion:
“This Council believes planning works best when developers and the local community work together to shape local areas and deliver necessary new homes; and therefore calls on the Government to protect the right of communities to object to individual planning applications.”
While I appreciate that Councillor Gibbons has serious reservations about the planning system, this doesn’t stop him sitting in planning meetings and making judgements on planning applications. The right of the local community to a have a proper voice in planning matter is important to safeguard against poor and inappropriate development and reduces the need for planning applications to go to the courts as the only recourse that communities have to a fair planning system. The right of neighbours and communities to speak against planning applications is one of the least problematic parts of a planning system that is riddled with problems at a much larger level.
On the issue of Islamophobia, I can understand the concern about labeling Muslims as a race, but it is something that has been enshrined in legislation for decades when applied to Jews. As with Muslims, Jews are not really a race, but antisemitism is a recognized form of racism in legislation and many antisemitic tropes are inherently racist. Muslims do not have the same protection in legislation, and this seems like a non-legislative way of recognizing many of the forms of Islamophobia.
The headline from the report “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness” doesn’t even specifically say it is racism but rooted in racism.
I think that the only line from the council motion that is problematic for me is “Contemporary examples of Islamophobia … could … include … denying Muslim populations the right to self-determination”. Does that mean that denying the right of self-determination to Kurds or Sahrawis make Morocco and Iraq and Turkey, Islamophobic? Or does it only apply when self-determination is being prevented by Hindus, Jews, Christians, or the Chinese Communist Party?
However, I believe that an all-party parliamentary group has done a very good job at helping to define Islamophobia and this should act as a guide to behaviour in public authorities and in society more generally. I reject the conclusions from some that defining antisemitism of Islamophobia (both badly named problems) shuts down free speech or legitimate discussion of theology or religious practice.
Are these really the worst decisions that the council has made and which @LeoGibbons has felt necessary to break with the ruling party?