Greens lose no confidence vote but stay in office

Posted On 30 Jan 2014 at 8:07 pm

Labour and Conservative councillors combined to pass a vote of no confidence in the Green Party at a meeting of Brighton and Hove City Council this evening ( Thursday 30 January).

Twenty nine councillors voted for the motion, twenty one voted against and two – the Mayor Denise Cobb and Conservative member Tony Janio – abstained.

The motion is not binding and the Greens do not intend to stand down.

The motion was proposed by Councillor Warren Morgan, the leader of the opposition Labour group.

He said: “Up until Thursday 16 January, my view was that it was voters who decided who should run this council, not politicians in back-room deals.

“And that the political group with the largest number of councillors had a mandate to run the authority until the next elections.

“However, it should not be forgotten that the Greens in 2011 won just 1 per cent more of the vote citywide than Labour.

“With the largest number of seats it was right that they be given a chance to form an administration and implement their manifesto.

“But having been elected on less than a third of the vote it is right too that they work with opposition parties on major challenges to the council, as with large-scale cuts to our funding and how we set our budget.

“Their actions, in releasing details of their above-threshold (council tax) rise and referendum plan to the national media and to Green activists around the UK before opposition councillors were consulted demonstrates clearly their intent to put party politics first and good governance second.

“They put what they thought would benefit the Green Party over what is right for this council and this city. That cannot be allowed to stand.

“Councillors, once elected, have a basic duty to set a budget and a policy direction for officers to work to.

“Until 16 January, officers and opposition groups alike were working on a budget, put forward by the Green administration, based on a 2 per cent rise.

“Clearly something changed. From the evidence we have it appears likely that the Green left councillors issued the council leader with an ultimatum: ‘referendum or resign’.

“So it was either an attempt to wrongfoot the opposition, an attempt to keep their warring factions together or an attempt to pass the buck for making cuts.

“None of these scenarios is one where the council, the city or our residents is put first.

“It was obvious from the moment the Greens took office that they would need to deal with swingeing cuts imposed by the Conservative government.

“In three years since, they have not taken steps to prepare this council and this city for those cuts.

“Many Labour councils have, even at a time of austerity, and even while forced to make cuts every bit as agonising as those in Brighton and Hove, made real progress where they can in improving the lives of their citizens.

“Faced with the unavoidable reality of cuts, Green councillors have stepped back from hard choices, chosen opposition over administration and walked away from the responsibilities that voters gave them three years ago.

“Time and time again they have shown that they cannot function as a single group and with this latest action they have shown that they cannot lead the city.

“The Greens cannot remain in office without taking the responsibility that comes with it, as they did with the Cityclean dispute last summer.

“They have framed a budget of cuts which they cannot agree on or support so have handed the decision to opposition councillors or even, should it go to referendum, the residents to vote through.
“I say to them you cannot wash your hands of your responsibilities. You cannot use the people of this city to play political games. You cannot pass the cost of Tory cuts on to residents.

“Residents of this city want this to stop. They are tired – tired of the division, tired of the games, tired of schemes they don’t support, tired of basic services not being delivered properly.

“That is why we are moving this motion today, saying to the leader of the council and his committee chairs, stand down, leave office and put your case for re-election to the voters in 450 days’ time.

“We propose a cross-party administration, set up under negotiations led by the chief executive, involving a small group of respected members from across all three parties in the chamber to run the city council until those elections are held.

“It will not be easy. It will require compromises on all sides but it is in the best interests of the city, council services and residents.

“The Green administration says, ‘let the people decide.’

“Labour members are knocking on doors across the city, from Portslade to Patcham to Rottingdean and everywhere in between, and let me tell you, the people have decided.

“Their voice is overwhelming. They want and end to the spin, an end to the political games, an end to the division and an end to this city being a laughing stock.

“They want the Greens gone. They want the Greens gone now. To borrow from Shakespeare, city residents say go, ‘Stand not upon the order of your going, but go at once.’

Responding to the debate, Councillor Morgan said: “It’s appropriate that Green members and supporters have been shouting and booing during this debate because under this Green administration the city has become a pantomime with a cast of Green politicians at odds with themselves.

“I say pantomime. I could equally say farce.

“The farce of voting to cut down a tree, then campaigning to save it.

“The farce of attempting to oust their leader, then denying it.

“The farce of calling in mediators to keep their squabbling councillors together.

“The farce of bins uncollected. The comedy of recycling falling.

“The tragedy of housebuilding rates in this city dropping.

“And all the while the Green MP (Caroline Lucas) runs on and off stage trying to associate or distance herself with whichever Green council action is in that day’s headlines.

“Pantomime, comedy or farce, they are usually funny. Well no one is laughing and no one is enjoying the show except those on the Tory benches hoping that the Green collapse will see them return to office.

“It is time for the curtain to come down on this miserable Green performance. The show’s over.”

  1. Clyde Cash Reply

    Excellent news! Hopefully this is the first nail in the coffin of the spiteful, incompetent and incapable Green council.

  2. Clyde Cash Reply

    Excellent news! Hopefully this is the first nail in the coffin of the spiteful, incompetent and incapable Green council.

  3. Jax Reply

    So what happens now?

  4. Jax Reply

    So what happens now?

  5. hjarrs Reply

    Yawn, we all knew this was going to be the case. It was just Morgan grandstanding and wasting council time for his own political vanity. He knew that a cross party administration was a non-starter, it was a ruse to avoid Labour copping the blame for cuts to come. Here we have a Labour leader calling for a vote of no confidence to fight cuts and protect services!

    Labour locally will not fight cuts (it is under orders not to!) nor will it fight nationally. I particularly like…“Many Labour councils have, even at a time of austerity, and even while forced to make cuts every bit as agonising as those in Brighton and Hove, made real progress where they can in improving the lives of their citizens.”

    Let me give you an example of this: Labour in Carlisle proposed today to take away a third of all childrens playground rides in order to save money. Another? In Sheffield many of the community libraries are to shut. I could go on and on, through every single Labour authority. I do not blame Labour for all cuts but rather how unambitious and unimaginative they have been and how they have meekly given in to the cuts agenda at a local level and how they court the Daily Mail readership nationally with promises of further local government cuts should they gain power.

    We had a chance to raise £2-3 million per year of additional revenue to save some of the most valuable services from cuts, this has been dashed by Labour and Conservatives. I predict more of the same next year.

    One of the good things Labour did was to open up childrens centres across the city. If Warren gets his way, he will have the pleasure of closing them.

  6. hjarrs Reply

    Yawn, we all knew this was going to be the case. It was just Morgan grandstanding and wasting council time for his own political vanity. He knew that a cross party administration was a non-starter, it was a ruse to avoid Labour copping the blame for cuts to come. Here we have a Labour leader calling for a vote of no confidence to fight cuts and protect services!

    Labour locally will not fight cuts (it is under orders not to!) nor will it fight nationally. I particularly like…“Many Labour councils have, even at a time of austerity, and even while forced to make cuts every bit as agonising as those in Brighton and Hove, made real progress where they can in improving the lives of their citizens.”

    Let me give you an example of this: Labour in Carlisle proposed today to take away a third of all childrens playground rides in order to save money. Another? In Sheffield many of the community libraries are to shut. I could go on and on, through every single Labour authority. I do not blame Labour for all cuts but rather how unambitious and unimaginative they have been and how they have meekly given in to the cuts agenda at a local level and how they court the Daily Mail readership nationally with promises of further local government cuts should they gain power.

    We had a chance to raise £2-3 million per year of additional revenue to save some of the most valuable services from cuts, this has been dashed by Labour and Conservatives. I predict more of the same next year.

    One of the good things Labour did was to open up childrens centres across the city. If Warren gets his way, he will have the pleasure of closing them.

  7. Stewart Gover, (Retired Skipper). Reply

    It is always a worry when a ‘Control-Freak’, and this is most certaily what we have running this Council, refuses Point-Blank to step aside, even for a more competant member of his/her own Political Group. Every Taxpayer in this City has watched as the Leader of the Green Party has Squandered Tens of Thousands of Pounds of their money on his ‘Cycling-Obsession’lane marking and possibly Unlawful handing over of a Publicly-Funded and Maintained Carriageway for 24 Hour Periods to a Private Profit-Making Company. Even the EU Blue-Badge directorate in Strasbourge has never received any application to vary or curtail the rights of the Disabled to stop their Vehicles outside the premises they need to enter! GO BACK TO YOUR CAMPUS Sir and for goodness sake leave our City to people who KNOW how to run a City & Don’t waste my time!

  8. Stewart Gover, (Retired Skipper). Reply

    It is always a worry when a ‘Control-Freak’, and this is most certaily what we have running this Council, refuses Point-Blank to step aside, even for a more competant member of his/her own Political Group. Every Taxpayer in this City has watched as the Leader of the Green Party has Squandered Tens of Thousands of Pounds of their money on his ‘Cycling-Obsession’lane marking and possibly Unlawful handing over of a Publicly-Funded and Maintained Carriageway for 24 Hour Periods to a Private Profit-Making Company. Even the EU Blue-Badge directorate in Strasbourge has never received any application to vary or curtail the rights of the Disabled to stop their Vehicles outside the premises they need to enter! GO BACK TO YOUR CAMPUS Sir and for goodness sake leave our City to people who KNOW how to run a City & Don’t waste my time!

  9. Rostrum Reply

    This is my post to yesterdays story…

    If the other two parties want them out then get together and vote them out.. Don’t wait for them to resign .. Do it…

    >>> Posted 30 Jan <<<

    "Thing is Cllr Warren Morgan any ‘caretaker’ administration will be short lived then its back to business as ususal with a pseudo one party state until the next crisis.

    ‘Politicians’ get to play their power games and the tax payer gets to pick up the bill.

    On a local level I, and many other people, do not want party politics.

    We want and need an administration, a management, stewards to run the day to day business of the infrastructure of the city.

    What we get is very very different..

    If you are serious about running this city for everyone then form, and continue to form, cross party administrations built on consensus. That would be a VERY interesting experiment in Government.

    But I doubt this will ever happen because as I said before – ‘Politicians’ get to play their power games and the tax payer gets to pick up the bill.
    "

  10. Rostrum Reply

    This is my post to yesterdays story…

    If the other two parties want them out then get together and vote them out.. Don’t wait for them to resign .. Do it…

    >>> Posted 30 Jan <<<

    "Thing is Cllr Warren Morgan any ‘caretaker’ administration will be short lived then its back to business as ususal with a pseudo one party state until the next crisis.

    ‘Politicians’ get to play their power games and the tax payer gets to pick up the bill.

    On a local level I, and many other people, do not want party politics.

    We want and need an administration, a management, stewards to run the day to day business of the infrastructure of the city.

    What we get is very very different..

    If you are serious about running this city for everyone then form, and continue to form, cross party administrations built on consensus. That would be a VERY interesting experiment in Government.

    But I doubt this will ever happen because as I said before – ‘Politicians’ get to play their power games and the tax payer gets to pick up the bill.
    "

  11. Clive Reply

    “So it was either an attempt to wrongfoot the opposition, an attempt to keep their warring factions together or an attempt to pass the buck for making cuts.” – Warren Morgan/

    The buck should lie with the Tory-led central government. It is disappointing, to say the least of it, to see Warren Morgan helping to let them off the hook.

    If Labour think this kind of behaviour is going to win back voters lost to the Greens then they are very much mistaken. Trouble is, they hate the Greens so much that it seems have affected their sense of reason.

  12. Clive Reply

    “So it was either an attempt to wrongfoot the opposition, an attempt to keep their warring factions together or an attempt to pass the buck for making cuts.” – Warren Morgan/

    The buck should lie with the Tory-led central government. It is disappointing, to say the least of it, to see Warren Morgan helping to let them off the hook.

    If Labour think this kind of behaviour is going to win back voters lost to the Greens then they are very much mistaken. Trouble is, they hate the Greens so much that it seems have affected their sense of reason.

  13. Valerie Paynter Reply

    What Labour did was a cheap political conjuring trick and it was grandstanding. Sadly the public will believe it was about standing up for them and Labour can possibly hoover in quite a stack of votes from knee-jerk voters ton the back of this.

    Few of the city voters currently living here actually lived here under Labour. And only once you have experienced all three of these political parties in power, have attended a lot of council meetings, do you see this charade for what it is.

    Under the last Labour council, we faced having Hove Library closed on the pretext it could not be made DDA compliant. The Black and Minority Ethnic Forum around then needed premises that could hoover in £1m from central govt and Hove Library was a target. The Forum was chaired by then councillor, the very charming Tehm Framroze. When asked by Adam Trimingham if they wanted the Hove Library building for a headquarters, he kindly divulged that yes, if it became available, they would like it.

    There were a few other things rumbling at the time that I won’t go into, but we nearly lost that building. Labour wanted to stuff a rump Hove Library function into the cellars of Hove Town Hall. Two of us acted and in the nick of time to prevent the decision, we got Hove Town Hall taken off the P&R agenda.

    Richard Scott knew how to make it DDA compliant and found old papers that were very helpful about the way the building works. And Christopher Hawtree, now Cllr Hawtree, took things forward from there with his PR work, petitions, and so on. Probably what got him elected!

    And then there was the Labour interference with the Planning Dept. who sent a 12-15 signature email to senior officers telling them to back off and stop trying to influence how they determined the Karis/King Alfred application. It was an unholy mess of an application and city-wreckingly overdeveloped. About 1,500 people would have lived there over and above the numbers using the sports centre which was not that big a deal even. The crumpled sheets of aluminium with window-shaped holes in them that were proposed to be tacked up the walls of the two central concrete, cruciform towers, were in the drawings and specified as aluminium in the application, but how they would be attached was never given. The groundwater investigations were worthless.
    But Labour got David Watkins to vote with them so they got the application passed. They forced it through to beat the local election in May 2007.

    But you know what? The Development Control Mgr left without serving notice, some say sacked. The West Area Mgr put in his resignation and was gone 3 months later. The actual King Alfred planning officer was gone by September. A whole swathe of planning officers quit and left BHCC with a very edgy and unhappy couple of years in their Planning Dept. The bankers fled. Frank Gehry pulled out. Finally, after the deadline for getting new funders passed, the Development Agreement lapsed and that scheme became history.

    Labour. Do you really want that bunch of back-room schemers back in power? Interestingly, having fought to prevent Sue John and Ken Bodfish closing Hove Library and selling it on, Cllr Hawtree is now a great fan of theirs. Even told us at Full Council last night that Bodfish was a fan of his quiche. Baboom.

    Politicians are a problem. Make no mistake.

  14. Valerie Paynter Reply

    What Labour did was a cheap political conjuring trick and it was grandstanding. Sadly the public will believe it was about standing up for them and Labour can possibly hoover in quite a stack of votes from knee-jerk voters ton the back of this.

    Few of the city voters currently living here actually lived here under Labour. And only once you have experienced all three of these political parties in power, have attended a lot of council meetings, do you see this charade for what it is.

    Under the last Labour council, we faced having Hove Library closed on the pretext it could not be made DDA compliant. The Black and Minority Ethnic Forum around then needed premises that could hoover in £1m from central govt and Hove Library was a target. The Forum was chaired by then councillor, the very charming Tehm Framroze. When asked by Adam Trimingham if they wanted the Hove Library building for a headquarters, he kindly divulged that yes, if it became available, they would like it.

    There were a few other things rumbling at the time that I won’t go into, but we nearly lost that building. Labour wanted to stuff a rump Hove Library function into the cellars of Hove Town Hall. Two of us acted and in the nick of time to prevent the decision, we got Hove Town Hall taken off the P&R agenda.

    Richard Scott knew how to make it DDA compliant and found old papers that were very helpful about the way the building works. And Christopher Hawtree, now Cllr Hawtree, took things forward from there with his PR work, petitions, and so on. Probably what got him elected!

    And then there was the Labour interference with the Planning Dept. who sent a 12-15 signature email to senior officers telling them to back off and stop trying to influence how they determined the Karis/King Alfred application. It was an unholy mess of an application and city-wreckingly overdeveloped. About 1,500 people would have lived there over and above the numbers using the sports centre which was not that big a deal even. The crumpled sheets of aluminium with window-shaped holes in them that were proposed to be tacked up the walls of the two central concrete, cruciform towers, were in the drawings and specified as aluminium in the application, but how they would be attached was never given. The groundwater investigations were worthless.
    But Labour got David Watkins to vote with them so they got the application passed. They forced it through to beat the local election in May 2007.

    But you know what? The Development Control Mgr left without serving notice, some say sacked. The West Area Mgr put in his resignation and was gone 3 months later. The actual King Alfred planning officer was gone by September. A whole swathe of planning officers quit and left BHCC with a very edgy and unhappy couple of years in their Planning Dept. The bankers fled. Frank Gehry pulled out. Finally, after the deadline for getting new funders passed, the Development Agreement lapsed and that scheme became history.

    Labour. Do you really want that bunch of back-room schemers back in power? Interestingly, having fought to prevent Sue John and Ken Bodfish closing Hove Library and selling it on, Cllr Hawtree is now a great fan of theirs. Even told us at Full Council last night that Bodfish was a fan of his quiche. Baboom.

    Politicians are a problem. Make no mistake.

  15. Rostrum Reply

    We’re all sick and tired with party politics ….. Change the system…. It’s corrupt and corrupting … It does not serve the purpose of running the city..

  16. Rostrum Reply

    We’re all sick and tired with party politics ….. Change the system…. It’s corrupt and corrupting … It does not serve the purpose of running the city..

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