Jason Kitcat, the leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, is standing down at the next election.
Jason Kitcat, the leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, is standing down at the next election, Brighton and Hove Independent can reveal.
In a statement published in today's newspaper, Councillor Kitcat - who has represented Regency ward since 2007 - discloses he will no longer be active in politics after May 7 next year.
He insists he wants a new challenge, but is keen to continue in public service in some way.
The shock disclosure is certain to trigger a citywide debate about the future of the Green Party; it will be portrayed by rivals as further evidence of the failure of the "Green experiment" in the city.
Cllr Kitcat, however, said the decision had been a family one. Making clear his determination to continue as council leader for another 10 months “as there’s lots to do”, he said: "To have been able to serve my second term as a councillor in administration, leading our city, has also been an immense honour."
His Polish-born wife, Ania - who has been the other Green councillor for Regency since 2011 - will also be standing down next May. The couple, who are currently on a city break overseas, have two children: an eight-year-old daughter and a two-year-old son.
Cllr Kitcat - who has dual British and Canadian nationality and is fluent in French - has told friends that he intends to continue living and working in the city, unless any future opportunities require a move: "He is ready to consider anything that matches his passions, skills, and interests."
His departure comes after a particularly tumultuous period, since the last council elections - including the CityClean dispute, repeated attempts from within the Green Party to undermine his leadership and unseat him as leader, and a failed attempt to hold a referendum to win support for a proposed 4.75% increase in council tax to mitigate the effects of government-imposed spending cuts.
Who in their right mind would join a political party?