Conservative councillor Tony Janio said that he did not support Labour’s budget but his party would vote for it after concessions were made.
Here is what the opposition leader on Brighton and Hove City Council said at the budget meeting at Hove Town Hall this evening …
Glance at the news for the briefest of moments and you can’t fail to notice that the political world is in a state of turmoil.
A few weeks ago we learnt that the founder of Momentum had been elected to the Labour party’s ruling National Executive Committee and that two Labour council leaders had resigned following intimidation and vicious campaigns of abuse by Momentum activists.
Labour MPs who voted for a no confidence motion in Jeremy Corbyn are reported to be on a hit-list drawn up by Momentum – and when the Hove Labour MP was asked on the telly last week about Momentum’s tightening grip on Labour he said, in a scene reminiscent of The Sopranos, that “I will never get distracted and called into a dark room having arguments”.
So, it looks like he is being called into dark rooms by Momentum but that he’s simply trying to do his best to ignore it.
Then, astonishingly, when pressed to answer why more so-called moderate leaning MPs like him seem a bit scared and aren’t standing up publicly against Momentum, he failed to give a credible answer. I can only assume that this was because it is true.
Then, last week in The Times, an article on the bitter divisions within the Brighton Labour Party indicated that members on the left will seek to deselect centrist party councillors, leading to the first socialist majority in the history of Brighton and Hove City Council.
This is the shocking state of the Labour Party in Brighton and Hove today.
Perhaps this is why Councillor Morgan last week spoke to his loyal Twitter followers, indicating that the city would go bankrupt by 2025.
Under a chaotic Labour administration this would certainly seem a possibility.
Our city is clearly in the middle of a crisis, with a Labour Administration at war with itself.
The Conservatives know we simply can’t carry on like this. We know that things must change.
Because of this chaos within the Labour Party, and the very real potential that the government could have been called in to sort out this mess of a budget before us tonight, local Conservatives entered into negotiations with the moderates still in control of the Brighton and Hove Labour Party and we agreed to vote for Labour’s inflation-busting budget tonight.
In doing this, we have ensured that the delivery of services across the city will not be interrupted by a Labour Party that only cares about “socialism and scaremongering” rather than “efficiency and effectiveness”.
But we will also be pushing for a full analysis, and a plan of action, to deal with endemic waste within the council.
Let’s face it, any organisation the size of the council that still employs over 750 managers is not spending its money wisely. I have bleated on about this issue many times over the years and it is now time for some action.
But there is even more. Life can be divided into three phases: retirement, working age and childhood.
On average, those in retirement are now better off than they have ever been, mainly thanks to the Conservatives triple lock policy, and a majority of working age people can see that we are moving past the Labour recession and into a golden era of high employment, low unemployment and of wages rises increasing faster than inflation. Excellent news, Madam Mayor.
But finally, the wonderful news that most of our children are now studying in much improved schools, brought about by enlightened Conservative policies and the dedicated hard work of teachers, has meant that our children now have the best reading skills in a generation – a prerequisite to thrive in many areas of life. A great achievement for the Conservative government.
Sadly, a minority of children across our city, through no fault of their own, need some extra help to fulfil their full potential, and this is why the Conservatives fought for, and secured, an extra £460,000 to be spent in the budget to provide enhancements to youth services across the city.
We are proud of this achievement. But I must now turn to the future and, as I described earlier, with Momentum determined to tear apart the Labour Party, next year’s budget may well see a different outcome to the one tonight.
My plea to the Labour Party over the coming year, therefore, is to not let the extremists within the Labour Party win – to not let their infighting spill over and affect the delivery of services to our residents,. But I fear that this is now inevitable.
The city does not deserve a Labour Party at war with itself. The city deserves a fresh start. The city deserves a Conservative administration.