Conservatives accuse Labour of u-turn over Channel 4 bid


Labour councillors have denied Conservative claims of a u-turn in policy after Brighton announced its bid for a Channel 4 creative hub in the city.

When Channel 4 first announced it was looking for new homes outside the capital last month, Tory councillor Joe Miller urged the city council’s Labour administration to throw its hat in the ring.

However, he was disappointed with what they considered Labour’s tourism and development lead’s “downplaying” of the city’s chances of success – and says he now fears the admistration’s newfound enthusiasm for the project may not be enough to secure the station’s move to the south coast.

However, Cllr Robins said it was an “unfair” criticism of both him and the officers – and said it had always been council policy to consider making a bid.

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Cllr Miller said: “I welcome this U-turn from Labour for the sake of our city. However it does show that they have no original ideas of their own and have to rely on opposition party’s ideas to drive change in the city.

“As an administration they have run out of steam, and hopefully the city realises this by replacing them with a team with fresh and original ideas: improving the lives of all our residents, visitors, and businesses next year.”

A 27-second video edit posted on the Brighton and Hove Conservatives Facebook page, taken from the April 19 council meeting webcast, appeared to show Cllr Alan Robins dismissing the city’s creative industries.


Cllr Robins was responding to question by Conservative councillor Joe Miller, who had recently read an article suggesting the city would bid to host Channel4.

After the section of his answer shown on the Conservative’s Facebook page, he went on to say that officers will be keeping a watchful eye on the opportunity.

Cllr Robins said this week: “When this question came up it was very new and had just been published.

“I had some discussion with officers and put the statement together. I said we were taking a close eye on it and have kept a watching brief.

“What we were saying was we are not a renowned city for TV skills, people don’t think Brighton.

“We have plenty of creativity and film skills. More than that was the concern how we are far too close to London.

“The bid did not cost a huge amount. It was next to nothing. It became obvious at this stage it was a possibility.

“This is an attempt to make use look incompetent. It is unfair on the officers as well.”

Brighton and Hove City Council April 19 webcast of oral questions from councillors

Cllr Miller asks his question at two hours, 27 minutes and 40 seconds into the webcast.

Channel 4 plans to create three regional hubs while maintaining its advertising base in London.

When responding to Cllr Miller’s question, Cllr Robins pointed out cities with established television studios including Liverpool, Norwich and Manchester.

As well as the Facebook post, Conservative councillor Steve Bell tweeted the video, challenging Labour councillor Daniel Yates to respond.

Cllr Yates said: “We were clear that we would adopt a partnerships approach to any decision about a bid and clearly now the council has ensured that a strong bid has been submitted. 

“Labour is committed to developing a strong economy for the city.

“Our digital and creative industries are a crucial part of this and working with our partners we have delivered a strong bid. We await the results of the bid with interest.”

Conservative councillor Tony Janio said the decision to post the clip was made by his leadership team including Councillors Bell and Lee Wares, adding: “The final decision was mine of course.

“Now residents do not have to believe what politician say, they can check for themselves.

“He was reading out an officer response without political input. If you’re running the city you cannot do that.”

Brighton and Hove City Council confirmed its bid on 12 May.Labour councillors have denied Conservative claims of a u-turn in policy after Brighton announced its bid for a Channel 4 creative hub in the city.

When Channel 4 first announced it was looking for new homes outside the capital last month, Tory councillor Joe Miller urged the city council’s Labour administration to throw its hat in the ring.

However, he was disappointed with what they considered Labour’s tourism and development lead’s “downplaying” of the city’s chances of success – and says he now fears the admistration’s newfound enthusiasm for the project may not be enough to secure the station’s move to the south coast.

However, Cllr Robins said it was an “unfair” criticism of both him and the officers – and said it had always been council policy to consider making a bid.

Cllr Miller said: “I welcome this U-turn from Labour for the sake of our city. However it does show that they have no original ideas of their own and have to rely on opposition party’s ideas to drive change in the city.

“As an administration they have run out of steam, and hopefully the city realises this by replacing them with a team with fresh and original ideas: improving the lives of all our residents, visitors, and businesses next year.”

A 27-second video edit posted on the Brighton and Hove Conservatives Facebook page, taken from the April 19 council meeting webcast, appeared to show Cllr Alan Robins dismissing the city’s creative industries.


Cllr Robins was responding to question by Conservative councillor Joe Miller, who had recently read an article suggesting the city would bid to host Channel4.

After the section of his answer shown on the Conservative’s Facebook page, he went on to say that officers will be keeping a watchful eye on the opportunity.

Cllr Robins said this week: “When this question came up it was very new and had just been published.

“I had some discussion with officers and put the statement together. I said we were taking a close eye on it and have kept a watching brief.

“What we were saying was we are not a renowned city for TV skills, people don’t think Brighton.

“We have plenty of creativity and film skills. More than that was the concern how we are far too close to London.

“The bid did not cost a huge amount. It was next to nothing. It became obvious at this stage it was a possibility.

“This is an attempt to make use look incompetent. It is unfair on the officers as well.”

Brighton and Hove City Council April 19 webcast of oral questions from councillors

Cllr Miller asks his question at two hours, 27 minutes and 40 seconds into the webcast.

Channel 4 plans to create three regional hubs while maintaining its advertising base in London.

When responding to Cllr Miller’s question, Cllr Robins pointed out cities with established television studios including Liverpool, Norwich and Manchester.

As well as the Facebook post, Conservative councillor Steve Bell tweeted the video, challenging Labour councillor Daniel Yates to respond.

Cllr Yates said: “We were clear that we would adopt a partnerships approach to any decision about a bid and clearly now the council has ensured that a strong bid has been submitted. 

“Labour is committed to developing a strong economy for the city.

“Our digital and creative industries are a crucial part of this and working with our partners we have delivered a strong bid. We await the results of the bid with interest.”

Conservative councillor Tony Janio said the decision to post the clip was made by his leadership team including Councillors Bell and Lee Wares, adding: “The final decision was mine of course.

“Now residents do not have to believe what politician say, they can check for themselves.

“He was reading out an officer response without political input. If you’re running the city you cannot do that.”

Brighton and Hove City Council confirmed its bid on 12 May.

  1. Stephen Reply

    Except by ‘checking for themselves’ he means watching an out of context and very selectively edited clip. The hypocrisy of Tories suggesting Labour doesn’t have ideas and steals from the Tories. haha. Projection much?!

  2. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    Cllr Robins is merely the Council officers’ mouthpiece. We saw that with the miserable time of saving the Carnegie Library in Hove from his clutches. And, not until the very end, did he take any notice of staff concerns at the Pavilion. He is not up to the job.

  3. alan robins Reply

    But you who seek to give and merit fame,
    And justly bear a critic’s noble name
    Be sure your self and own reach to know
    How far your genius,taste and learning go
    Launch not beyond your depth,but be discreet
    And mark that point where sense and dulness meet.
    Alexander Pope

  4. Horatio V Reply

    Who could that be tapping at my front door
    Why it’s Councillor Miller asking for Channel Four
    He begs and he pleads for Labour to see
    This glorious channel needs a home by the sea

    The council consults and the bid is sent in
    But Councillor Miller won’t risk a slight grin
    Those TV execs must be awfully frightened
    At the spectre of council talking down Brighton

    Miller thumps table with a face that is haunted
    Despite council doing just what he wanted
    Not content with getting things his own way
    For Miller demands one more final say

    “The council considered and then made a choice
    And asked TV to come here in an united voice
    How dare they debate and discuss this decision”
    Miller hooted in deep tones of derision

    “The council have clearly done a U Turn
    And clearly they all have lessons to learn
    Don’t be fools and act just like sheep
    For no-one would dream to look before leap”

    Miller sits back with his face big and smug
    And sips at his tea from crude Toby jug
    For whether TV execs say yes or no
    Miller will claim that he told you so.

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