Ex-South African’s petition calls for UK parliament to debate Bell Pottinger

07 July 2017 - 19:12 By Katharine Child
Bell Pottinger logo. File photo.
Bell Pottinger logo. File photo.
Image: Wikimedia Commons

A British citizen who grew up in South Africa wants his petition to have a UK parliamentary inquiry into Bell Pottinger's “white monopoly capital” campaign to be debated there.

Previously petitions by UK citizens garnering 10,000 signatories on the website attached to the UK parliament were debated by the House of Commons‚ but now it requires 100,000 signatures.

The petitions must meet certain criteria to be accepted.

"Only petitions created on the petition.parliament.uk website will be considered by the petitions committee for debate in the House of Commons" a spokesman for the House of Commons told Timeslive. The spokesman said: "When you start a petition‚ before it becomes live it is checked by House of Commons staff to make sure that it meets the standards."

But Martin Peake’s petition‚ with about 10,450 signatures‚ is on the website‚ change.com.

In his petition Peake requests that former Bell Pottinger partner Victoria Geoghegan‚ who was directly involved in the campaign to blame tensions in South Africa on "white monopoly capital"‚ be indicted in The Hague.

Peake writes: "Bell Pottinger‚ a morally corrupt British company‚ has spent the last few years in a divisive campaign of racial and moral social decay that has left South Africa scarred‚ set back the lifeworks of great men like Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu‚ and resulted in the deaths of countless innocents as a result of their racially charged hatred. We demand a formal enquiry into this company‚ its directors and officers‚ and in particular Bell Pottinger’s senior Africa partner Victoria Geoghegan‚ and the indictment of these people at the ICC at the Hague."

Peake‚ who said South Africa will always be home despite the fact he no longer lives there‚ said he is angry about Bell Pottinger's campaign to use the term "white monopoly capital" and to blame problems on the country on elite groups of white people.

Even though the petition is not on the correct website for debate‚ because the official petition site is still closed following the recent UK general election‚ Peake said he has discussed his petition with an MP who has agreed to present it for debate.

Peake's petition claims the white monopoly narrative used by Bell Pottinger is linked to the spike in farm murders that occurred in South Africa in January and February.

There were about 32 farm murders in the first two months of this year compared with fewer 50 in 2016. But reasons for the spike has not been explained by the police.

The white monopoly narrative by Twitter bots who targeted people critical of the Gupta family began in February. Peake firmly believes the racial tensions caused by this narrative had a part to play in the murders.

He says he has emailed a number of Bell Pottinger’s clients‚ asking them to rethink their relationship with the PR company.

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