After being elected in May as the new leader of the Conservative Group for Brighton and Hove City Council, I am honoured to have been given this opportunity and am hugely grateful to my colleagues, particularly Geoffrey Theobald, for their support.
In his 50 years of service, Geoffrey has been a giant of politics and a fantastic representative for the city. I intend to carry on much of his good work and appreciate him giving me the opportunity to lead for these two years before the next local election.
The city deserves the Conservatives to be united and have a clear vision of where the city is going after 2019. We have some fantastic young councillors who have a great deal to offer as well as long standing representatives whose years of experience are invaluable to get the best deal for residents. On this basis we hope the people of Brighton and Hove will entrust us with taking over the Administration of the council when the time comes in 2019.
Elected in 2007, my aim was to be a ward councillor and represent my local area of Hangleton and Knoll, of which I am very proud. In partnership with my councillor duties I have been the Group’s lead spokesman for environment and transport which are subjects of great interest to me.
I am proud of my reputation as a straight-talking and sometimes challenging elected representative and have shown in the past that I am happy to work with Labour and the Greens for the best interests of the city, something which I intend to continue.
I cannot fail to mention the awful attack in Manchester last week in which so many people lost their lives or were injured. As a parent the nature of this incident has been particularly difficult to comprehend with so many young and innocent children affected.
The way in which the people of Manchester have come together is amazing yet unsurprising considering their strong reputation as a solid and caring community. I stand with them and offer my sincere condolences whilst reaffirming we will not be beaten down by such acts and must be more determined to continue with our daily lives.
The joint statement I sent out with the Labour and Green leaders also echoes this and shows that in times of adversity we can unite despite extremist attempts to divide us.
Tony Janio is the leader of the Conservatives on Brighton & Hove City Council.