Labour councillors have chosen a new leader at their annual general meeting (AGM) at Hove Town Hall this evening (Monday 23 April).
Councillor Dan Yates was elected unopposed and is expected to become the next leader of Brighton and Hove City Council.
He will lead his party and the minority administration of the council into the local elections in May next year.
Councillor Yates, 45, a physiotherapist and NHS manager, represents Moulsecoomb and Bevendean, having won the seat three years ago.
Since then he has chaired the Brighton and Hove Health and Wellbeing Board which brings together local politicians and council officials with NHS commissioners.
The board is working on closer integration of health and social care and sets policy, commissions services and oversees performance in areas such as public health and adult social care.
Councillor Yates replaces Councillor Warren Morgan as leader of the Labour group.
Councillor Morgan, 50, has led Labour in Brighton and Hove since 2013 when the party was in opposition.
He became leader of the council when Labour displaced the Greens to form the political administration of the council at the local elections in May 2015.
After the Labour group AGM this evening Councillor Yates said: “It is a massive honour to be asked to take on this crucial role for the party and for the city at such a crucial time.
“I will work hard to repay the trust that my fellow Labour councillors have placed me as we continue to work as a very close team on behalf of residents right across the city.
“I also want to pay tribute to Warren, who has led the council with vision and determination, and who fully deserves the Labour group’s thanks for all he has helped achieve over the last three years.
“The challenges that this council faces from ongoing Tory government cuts to funding and increasing demand for services for the most vulnerable should not be underestimated.
“But we have the determination to continue to deliver for local people, to improve our city and make it a place where people want to live and work.
“Over the next few months Labour will begin developing the manifesto that we plan to help us take majority control of the city council next May for the first time in nearly 20 years.
“We will be fighting to win the hearts, minds and trust of every resident of the city and, given the great Labour results across the city in 2017, it is clear that residents have a growing confidence that Labour are best placed to deliver for them.
“Whether it is our innovative scheme for 1,000 new affordable homes to be delivered through a partnership with Hyde homes or our dogged determination to raise recycling rates from the depths of Green Party failures, residents have seen that despite Tory austerity we have real ambition for the city and have backed us time and time again at elections over recent years.
“For May 2019 we will have a new manifesto that every community across the whole city will be able to support and, with our record party membership, we know we have the talent and the numbers to gain the council majority to help us deliver on it.
“We will take nothing for granted between now and May 2019 and will be talking to as many residents as we can in coming months so that, with your backing, we can continue to build a future for the city that all can share in.
“Labour has always been ambitious for the city. And we look to the city to back that ambition.”
At the meeting this evening Councillor Gill Mitchell was re-elected unopposed as one of the group’s two deputy leaders.
Councillor Les Hamilton will continue to serve as deputy leader (finance) having seen off a challenge from newcomer Councillor Nancy Platts who won her seat in a by-election earlier this year.
Councillor Morgan is due to stand down formally as leader of the council at the annual council meeting on Thursday 17 May.
He said on Twitter: “I’ve known and worked with Daniel for very many years and I’m delighted he has been elected by the Labour and Co-operative group to lead them into the local elections a year from now.
“I wish him the very best as leader of the Labour and Co-operative group, one of the best jobs in city politics, and he has my full support in succeeding me as leader of the council.”