Brighton and Hove Labour group elects leader

Posted On 10 May 2011 at 10:31 pm

Gill Mitchell has been re-elected unanimously as the leader of the Labour group on Brighton and Hove City Council.

Councillor Mitchell, who retained her seat in East Brighton in the local elections last week, had been expected to face a challenge from Brian Fitch.

Councillor Fitch won a seat in Hangleton and Knoll four years after being defeated there while he was the Labour group’s chief whip.

Labour group leader Councillor Gill Mitchell

Warren Morgan, who also represents East Brighton, and Les Hamilton, who sits for South Portslade, were elected deputy leaders.

The Labour group looks likely to help the ruling Greens to review the council’s budget for the year to next March.

But at the weekend it ruled out a coalition although a blog posting by Councillor Morgan suggested that some thought had been given to the possibility of a coalition.

He posted a comment on the Brighton Politics Blog saying: “I really hope no one sees this as Labour being bad losers and having a ‘sulk’.

“If the Tories were still the largest group, we would have joined with the Greens – even if they were the larger group – and prevented another four Tory years of Tory control.

“There are many points upon which we have common ground, and we would have had to set aside any bad feeling from the election and the past four years and made it work.”

He added: “We will support the Green administration where we believe it is doing the right thing and will be – I hope – a constructive opposition where we don’t.”

After her re-election, Councillor Mitchell said: “I was immensely proud to be re-elected as leader of Brighton and Hove Labour group with the unanimous support of my colleagues.

“The people of Brighton and Hove made their voice loud and clear at the local elections. We must take the time to listen as well as continuing to push for improvements in the city.

“As a party, I think we must recognise that changes need to be made locally, as well as nationally, in order for us to move forward and respond to the hopes and concerns of local people.”

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