I must begin by offering huge congratulations to Brighton and Hove Albion on behalf of the Conservative Group for securing promotion to the Premier League next season.
The positive feeling around the city over this past week brought on by Monday’s fantastic result is impossible to miss and long may it continue. It is great to see once again the power of sport in bringing people together and I am proud to see the Seagulls’ flag flying at Hove Town Hall.
The Conservatives have been long-time supporters of the club and its board, backing them all the way down the line to get the Amex Stadium and recognising the fantastic work done by Albion in the Community, the Seagulls’ charitable arm. Their success is every bit deserved.
It has been a long road for the Albion since the Goldstone Ground was sold in 1997, forcing them to play 70 miles away in Gillingham and then at the council-owned Withdean Stadium. Promotion, estimated to be worth around £170 million for the club, is not just great news for Albion fans. Premier League status will give a huge boost to the city’s economy, with the raised profile of Brighton and Hove set to bring additional visitors and investment. So well done to Tony Bloom and all the directors, the Manager Chris Hughton and the players.
Something which I hope will follow the Albion’s success will be an improvement of Falmer train station for football fans and university students alike. I hope it will assist the ongoing campaign to gain an additional Brighton to London rail mainline - BML2. As the busiest train line in the country this is now set to be even busier when the next football season begins with attendance figures likely to regularly be over 30,000.
You will have seen my comments this week welcoming Theresa May’s decision to hold a General Election.
The choice facing this city and our country at this election is all about leadership - a strong and stable leadership in the national interest with Theresa May and the Conservatives or weak and unstable coalition government, led by Jeremy Corbyn.
I would urge all residents of the city to register to vote by visiting www.gov.uk/register-to-vote and make their views known on June 8.
Geoffrey Theobald is the leader of the Conservatives on Brighton and Hove City Council.