New Mayor of Brighton and Hove is the youngest to take office

Councillor Alex Phillips taking up the role of mayor
Councillor Alex Phillips taking up the role of mayor

Brighton and Hove has its youngest ever mayor after councillors elected 33-year-old Green councillor Alex Phillips.

She took up the chains of office at Brighton Town Hall with her 19-month-old son on her lap and her husband, fellow Green councillor Tom Druitt, appointed as her consort.

Councillor Alex Phillips taking up the role of mayor

Councillor Alex Phillips taking up the role of mayor

She was nominated by Green convenor Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty and seconded by former Green mayor Councillor Pete West.

Read more: Outgoing Mayor of Brighton and Hove reviews her year in office

She first won a seat in Goldsmid ward in a by-election in 2009, becoming the youngest councillor ever elected, aged 23.

She is the only Brighton and Hove City Council member to have served in both Hove and Brighton. She currently represents Regency ward along with her husband Councillor Tom Druitt.

Councillor Alex Phillips taking up the role of mayor

Councillor Alex Phillips taking up the role of mayor

Even at 33, she is the second longest-serving member of the Green group after Councillor West.

Councillor Mac Cafferty quoted former US President Lyndon B Johnson and actor Clint Eastwood.

The Green convenor said: “Lyndon B Johnson said when the burdens of office seemed particularly heavy, I remind myself it could be worse. I could be a mayor.”

And the actor and director Clint Eastwood, the former mayor of Carmel, in California, said that being elected had been good news – “you’re the mayor” and bad news – “you’re the mayor”.

Councillor West said: “She will make a wonderful mayor, bringing an amazing energy to the office.”

After taking up the robes of office Councillor Phillips thanked her husband – and her son Rafi for being a quiet boy who slept through the night.

This was after he had sat on her lap and grabbed at the mayoral chain of office, prompting laughter in the council chamber.

Councillor Phillips thanked departing mayor Councillor Dee Simson, saying that she had learnt so much from her predecessor.

She wants to support 20 different charities, with a focus on promoting the work rather than focusing so much on the money.

Her chosen charities are Allsorts, BHT, Brighton Women’s Centre, CRUSE, Grace Eyre, Oasis Project, RISE, Survivors’ Network, Sustrans, Whoopsadaisy, Amaze, Brighton Table Tennis Club, Clock Town Sanctuary, Extratime, Hummingbird Project, Off The Fence, Rockinghorse, Sussex Night Stop and the Martlets.

When she travels around the city Councillor Phillips plans either to walk or take the bus.

She also aims to take 19-month-old Rafi with her.

Councillor Phillips said: “I’m going to be supporting active travel and meet  more people.

“I will be bringing Rafi to show people you can hold a position as a woman and raise a family.”