Greens support Labour to retain control of Brighton and Hove City Council

The Greens backed the Labour administration to retain control of Brighton and Hove City Council this afternoon (March 5).

Tuesday, 5th March 2019, 3:44 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th March 2019, 1:20 pm
Labour council leader Daniel Yates

But that didn't stop them taking aim at both Labour and the Conservatives in Hove Town Hall today.

Green convenor Cllr Phélim Mac Cafferty, said: "We will not allow the architects of Conservative government austerity to take control of the council, but neither are we here to prop up a failing Labour administration.

"Neither party are fit to steer our city through the challenges ahead.

Cllr Phelim Mac Cafferty, Green convenor

"Greens will support Labour’s amendment because we are concerned that the Tories’ ‘takeover’ bid is about nothing more than derailing safety improvements at our city’s accident blackspot, Valley Gardens. A project that Labour has delayed and taken four years to deliver. We cannot allow this to fail and we desperately need this for our residents safety.

"And while I might vote to keep out a Conservative administration I have no confidence left in this Labour administration either."

Related stories: Labour and Greens in 'progressive alliance' to approve Brighton and Hove City Council budgetCrunch meeting to decide whether Labour or Conservatives control Brighton & Hove City Council​Cllr Tony Janio, leader of the Conservatives on the council, said: "The simple fact is that it is convention that in the council the largest party forms an administration. We believe in upholding traditions, that's why we called this meeting. We should be the administration.

"I can see Labour and Greens will gang up on us they always do.

Cllr Tony Janio, leader of the Conservatives

"I'm afraid the running of this city is too important to leave to the current crumbling Labour administration.

"We are trying to take this city forward which is why we called this meeting."

Green councillor Leo Littman said: "On the one hand we have the hopeless, hapless, headless, and heartless remains of what was once a Labour administration, clinging on to power but no longer remembering why.

"On the other hand there are the authors of austerity, the plunderers of public service funding, the creators of cuts, the Government’s little cheerleaders, our local Tories, desperate to take back control, despite the fact the public never voted to let them have it.

"Two totally unedifying options: atrophication or disruption: leave the tiller of the city under the dead hand of Labour, or hand the wheel to those who’ve been trying to sink the ship for the last ten years.

"Genuinely, a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea."

Cllr Michael Inkpin Lessiner of the newly-formed The Independent Group, said: "We need to change politics. I'm grateful that the Greens will support the current administration as we will, The Independent Group."

He said the city need continuity 'until the city can vote again' on May 2.

He said: "Please stop this political game and look after our city."

Green councillor Lizzie Deane said: "Madam mayor when I look at my colleagues on the left I see a collection of people who for the most part are fine upstanding individuals who genuinely want to do the best for the city, and four years ago no doubt felt honoured and excited at the prospect of doing just that.

"Collectively however the Labour group has turned out very differently. Having promised the city they would get the basics right, they have produced a city that is festooned in litter, graffiti, overflowing bins and homeless people sleeping in tents and in shop doorways.

"We will be supporting them Madam Mayor, but because we feel it is in the best interests of the city to have some continuity for the final weeks until the elections in May, when the city will decide what happens next."

Cllr Geoffrey Theobald, Conservative, said: "The fact is our democracy... operates by convention. What you're doing tonight is chucking that out just like that.

"You're trying to justify breaking convention. The fact on the matter is the party this side has the most councillors. We are the largest group.

"By convention it is always been the case the party with the most councillors formed the administration."

Cllr Alex Phillips, Green, said: "A Labour councillor become a Tory councillor. Two Labour councillors became independent and one left their seat vacant.

"The electorate do not know what they are going to get if they vote Labour. They deserve better than this."

Cllr Gill Mitchell, Labour, said: "We do not intend to abandon any 'sinking ship', as has been said tonight. We are very much full speed ahead.

"We do not need any instability, we need to be listening to the residents now and to the electorate in May who will guide us on the way forward."

Cllr Daniel Yates, Labour leader, said in May 'we will know what the will of the people is as we'll have the election results'.

He said: "I think what we've listened to tonight is the most appalling piece of party politicking."

Councillors voted 30 in favour and 21 against to retain the Labour administration.

Why was the meeting held?

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

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.

It meant the 11 Green councillors had the deciding vote - and they voted with Labour.