Well it has been quite a busy couple of weeks for the city council and for local politics – and with the results of the city council elections yet again failing to give a clear majority to one party to have overall control.
However, with Labour on 20 councillors I’m really pleased that we have been given the largest number of seats again, and so for the first time in a generation, the city has kept faith with one party to form the administration for a second term.
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However, the reality is far from that simplistic narrative. For 20 years the city has failed to give any one party a big enough mandate fully to deliver its manifesto. And yet, at the same time, for 20 years our city has continued to vote for a majority of councillors who represent progressive policies and parties. This has successively led to minority administrations struggling to cobble together enough support from other parties to be able to deliver on their manifestos, while simultaneously not being able to deliver some of the big decisions that the city needs. That’s why I have been working towards delivering a majority Labour administration – something that we were unable to achieve in the end.
Immediately after the election results became clear I started talking within my party, and across the public, about the possibility of considering developing a broader policy platform that represents that progressive stream of thought that both Labour and Green parties put forward in their manifestos.
I strongly believe that by harnessing the shared ideas that sit within two manifestos, which could have been twins separated at birth, we could deliver the very real decisions required to address the major issues facing the city – housing, homelessness, the global climate emergency and ongoing Tory austerity.
Over the coming few days I very much hope that politicians from both Labour and the Greens parties will be able to sit down and thrash out a new course of politics for our city. In a city where breaking the norms and challenging convention is seen as a badge of honour, I hope that we can break the constraints of our pasts and set our minds towards the future.
Cllr Daniel Yates is the leader of the Labour Group on Brighton and Hove City Council.