Greens take aim at Labour and Conservatives ahead of meeting over council control

Cllr Phelim Mac Cafferty
Cllr Phelim Mac Cafferty

The Greens have taken a swipe at both Labour and the Tories as they are set to wrestle for power this afternoon (March 5).

Green convenor Phélim Mac Cafferty, whose party holds the balance of power at the extraordinary council meeting, said: "We will not allow the architects of Conservative government austerity to take control of the council, nor are we here to prop up a failing Labour administration."

Councillors will vote on which party should take control of Brighton and Hove City Council ahead of the elections in May.

The move comes after after Cllr Anne Meadows defected from Labour to the Tories.

Another Labour councillor Warren Morgan, left the Labour Party to join newly-formed The Independent Group (TIG) with Cllr Michael Inkpin-Leissner.

It means Labour has 19 councillors to the Conservatives' 21 – but the two TIG councillors said they would back Labour in a vote for control.

This means the power lies with the 11 Green councillors .

The Greens voted with Labour on the budget last week after winning cash for sustainability and carbon reduction and reversing a number of cuts to services.

When the budget was passed last Thursday (February 28), Labour leader Daniel Yates said the move 'shows a progressive alliance can improve this city'.

But today, Cllr Phélim Mac Cafferty convenor of the Green Group, said: “With one councillor defecting to the Conservative Party and their former leader cutting ties with the group, it’s clear the Labour Council has put its internal divisions before the good of the city. It is the Greens who have been called on to clear up the mess.

“Greens offer a distinctive political vision. In the budget last week we reversed cuts to vital public services, injected serious investment in homelessness support and stopping climate change. We have rejected austerity and a hard Brexit at every turn. We want to see a safe, healthy and welcoming city that puts our communities first.

“We will not allow the architects of Conservative government austerity to take control of the council, nor are we here to prop up a failing Labour administration. Neither party are fit to steer our city through the challenges ahead. We remain concerned that the Tories’ ‘takeover’ bid is about derailing safety improvements at the city’s accident blackspot, Valley Gardens. At the same time, residents are right to feel deeply let down by the Labour Party. From overflowing bins, school catchment chaos, slow action on homelessness, division over Brexit and woeful commitments to sustainable transport, they have failed Brighton and Hove.

“While Labour and the Tories seek to embroil the city in further chaos, we know our residents need confidence in council services.”

The extraordinary council meeting takes place from 4.30pm at Hove Town Hall.