LBGT President forced to quit

Josh Hardie 15 November 2007

LBGT Campaign President, Nikki Gratton, has resigned from her post after losing a vote of no confidence.

Gratton’s removal from power caps off a series of ongoing concerns about her leadership within the LBGT (Lesbian, Bisexual. Gay and Transgendered) community.

But Carol Johnston, the interim LBGT President, called the no confidence motion as a last resort, after Gratton failed to attend three successive executive meetings of the campaign.

New President Johnston was responsible for proposing the motion against Gratton.

The former President’s absences were so frequent that one LBGT campaign member claimed that he was unaware that Gratton was President at all.

He assumed that chair Josie Fielding held the position.

Gratton was repeatedly contacted before the meeting by Fielding, who says that she had stressed to the ex-President that the meeting was very important.

But when the committee tried to contact Gratton on the day of the meeting itself, it turned out that she had choir practice at the same time. One observer descibed the subsequent atmosphere at the meeting as “tense” and “icy” .

Gratton told TCS that “personal difficulties and other commitments on my time” were to blame for her resignation. Her membership of Homerton College Choir is understood to be just one of these “commitments” which had been given priority over her top LBGT role.

But the motion of no confidence itself was subject to a number of procedural irregularities.

Although the member proposing the motion had not found anyone to second it, offers to back up Johnston’s proposal rushed in.

At first the vote for this crucial motion was taken by a show of hands. This was only amended when someone pointed out that the vote should actually have been held by secret ballot.

And according to one source, who asked not to be named, one member even raised his hand while voting – and then had to ask the room what the motion was about.

But the final outcome of the vote was that Gratton was removed “fairly unanimously”, according to one source.

When she finally found out that a vote of no confidence had been brought against her, she promptly resigned.

Fielding claimed that “generally she is quite relieved” by events as she now has more free time.

Meanwhile, she added, at LBGT “there is a feeling that things can only get better.”

But Johnston does not have much time to turn things around. She only holds the presidency until LBGT Awareness Week in February, when elections for the new Executive will be held.

Josh Hardie