Youngest Green councillor in Brighton and Hove aims for seat in the European Parliament

Posted On 07 May 2014 at 6:57 am

Brighton and Hove councillor Alex Phillips is among dozens of candidates standing in the forthcoming European elections

Brighton and Hove voters are being asked to elect 10 MEPs – Members of the European Parliament – in just over a fortnight’s time.

Most voters will recognise few of the 100-odd candidates’ names on the ballot paper on Thursday 22 May. And few will know much about what the winners get up to in Brussels and Strasbourg over the coming five years.

Councillor Alex Phillips is standing in the European elections

Indeed a straw poll among a dozen people locally who have a strong personal or professional interest in politics found that even they could not name all 10 MEPs.

The top score was 6 out of 10 and most managed just 4 or 5. This is despite the fact that our constituency is represented by UKIP leader Nigel Farage and the former Brighton councillor and Green Party parliamentary candidate Keith Taylor.

One of those hoping to join Mr Taylor is fellow Green Party candidate and secondary school teacher Alex Phillips.

She is second on the Green Party slate. Her place on the list means that if enough people vote Green to re-elect Mr Taylor – the first choice candidate – and a second Green MEP, Councillor Phillips will win the seat.

At 28 years old she would be one of the youngest politicians in the European Parliament. But she has already served for five years as a member of Brighton and Hove City Council and worked for Green MP Caroline Lucas when Dr Lucas was an MEP.

Councillor Phillips said: “I have been working in politics since I was 16. Unusually I’ve garnered a lot of experience in Brussels working for Caroline in the European Parliament straight after university. I spent most of my twenties in a council chamber.”

She said: “Being able to speak French and German is a real benefit too. Seventy per cent of our legislation comes from Europe.

“The constituency (South East England) is vast. It goes from Dover to the Isle of Wight and up to Oxford, Reading and Milton Keynes.

“We need a 2.5 per cent swing to get a second person elected.”

If she is optimistic, she is not complacent. Perhaps her best hope of attracting votes from the left and centre of politics comes from the fact that the Liberal Democrats are widely expected to do badly.

In South East England the Lib Dems have two MEPs – Catherine Bearder and Sharon Bowles. Mrs Bowles, who has earned respect beyond her party, is retiring – as is the long-serving Peter Skinner, currently Labour’s only MEP for the area.

The Conservatives have five MEPs – one of them, Marta Andreasen, defected from UKIP. The journalist Dan Hannan is perhaps the best-known Tory. The pair are standing again along with sitting MEPs Nirj Deva and Richard Ashworth. The fifth, James Elles, is retiring.

What are the European elections all about? According to Councillor Phillips, it comes down to “What sort of country do we want to live in?”

“The main parties use immigrants as scapegoats for problems they didn’t create”

She said: “The EU does quite a lot around workers’ rights and holiday pay which the Greens gave been working on. The EU has brought in a cap on bankers’ bonuses. It’s a start.

“I see Europe as our insurance policy. Whatever government we have here, it guarantees basic rights. Labour has the same neo-liberal outlook as all the other main parties. The Tories aren’t the greenest government ever but the EU means they can’t discard everything.

“We are the only party that’s positive about immigration. As someone who is ex-Labour it’s embarrassing to see what was once a progressive party becoming just like the nasty party. Immigrants are people.”

She said that the main parties’ attitude seems to be: “It’s ok if you’re rich.

“But it’s the poorest who offer so much. The unfairness riles me. The main parties use immigrants as scapegoats for problems they didn’t create.

“I was on a panel with Nigel Farage not all that long ago and I made that point and it riled him.”

She added: “The European elections are the most democratic elections, with PR (proportional representation). UKIP may come first this year. In European elections people do vote differently.

“We’re the only party offering real alternatives in many areas. The door is wide open for UKIP and the Greens.”

  1. Uncle Ruckus Reply

    Surely not the same Alex Phillips that intended to desert her constituents by fulfilling part of her teacher-training course in Africa for three months? (she claimed via Twitter that this was ‘vital’ to personal and spiritual growth…)

  2. Uncle Ruckus Reply

    Surely not the same Alex Phillips that intended to desert her constituents by fulfilling part of her teacher-training course in Africa for three months? (she claimed via Twitter that this was ‘vital’ to personal and spiritual growth…)

  3. Andrew Bakelyn Reply

    Phillips is a full-blown member of the Green Councils ‘awkward squad’; if she thinks that she is going to become an MEP, she is demonstrating wonderfully how completely out of touch the Greens are with reality

  4. Andrew Bakelyn Reply

    Phillips is a full-blown member of the Green Councils ‘awkward squad’; if she thinks that she is going to become an MEP, she is demonstrating wonderfully how completely out of touch the Greens are with reality

  5. pachallis Reply

    I suppose Alexandra (as she appears on the green MEP voting propaganda) realises the writing is on the wall for her as a councillor and she wants to climb aboard the MEP gravy train.

    If she doesn’t get the MEP roll then I guess she will have to go back to doing a real job as a teacher to help support her similarly activist partner running the free fractavist bus service.

    So Alexandra and Jason Kitcat both admit they were once part of the Caroline Lucas ‘Brat Pack’? I wouldn’t call that ‘positive’ advertising.

    The greens are now clearly the ‘new left’ and as can be seen by her comments there is very little mention on the environment issues we would expect from a ‘green’ party.

    Remember everyone – make sure you use your vote in the forthcoming elections – and make sure you vote for ANY party except green.

  6. pachallis Reply

    I suppose Alexandra (as she appears on the green MEP voting propaganda) realises the writing is on the wall for her as a councillor and she wants to climb aboard the MEP gravy train.

    If she doesn’t get the MEP roll then I guess she will have to go back to doing a real job as a teacher to help support her similarly activist partner running the free fractavist bus service.

    So Alexandra and Jason Kitcat both admit they were once part of the Caroline Lucas ‘Brat Pack’? I wouldn’t call that ‘positive’ advertising.

    The greens are now clearly the ‘new left’ and as can be seen by her comments there is very little mention on the environment issues we would expect from a ‘green’ party.

    Remember everyone – make sure you use your vote in the forthcoming elections – and make sure you vote for ANY party except green.

  7. Valerie Paynter Reply

    This article is in the current edition of Latest which is on the street and like Pachalis I noticed that there is not a single remark from Alex about environmental issues. And that used to be what the Green Party was for. As environmental consciousness became more mainstream, the fears of being redundant led to taking on the social justic mantle. They have run with the left remit (seeing an empty space following the Labour flight to the centre)and all but left the environment behind (except for cycling and, under pressure, one tree at Seven Dials.

    Cllr Phillips signed away that Seven Dials tree and was forced to recant when her other half went up that tree to save it.

    Cllr Phillips is more about political gamesmanship and gladhanding than she is about the slog of DOING. My view comes from having her as a ward councillor. Still waiting for her or one of the other two to reply to an email on a Grade 2 property being abused and for one of them to answer the phone messages left for them by a resident in said property who needs their intervention. Hellooooo. Anybody not out on the Green campaign bus ignoring the boring council stuff?

  8. Valerie Paynter Reply

    This article is in the current edition of Latest which is on the street and like Pachalis I noticed that there is not a single remark from Alex about environmental issues. And that used to be what the Green Party was for. As environmental consciousness became more mainstream, the fears of being redundant led to taking on the social justic mantle. They have run with the left remit (seeing an empty space following the Labour flight to the centre)and all but left the environment behind (except for cycling and, under pressure, one tree at Seven Dials.

    Cllr Phillips signed away that Seven Dials tree and was forced to recant when her other half went up that tree to save it.

    Cllr Phillips is more about political gamesmanship and gladhanding than she is about the slog of DOING. My view comes from having her as a ward councillor. Still waiting for her or one of the other two to reply to an email on a Grade 2 property being abused and for one of them to answer the phone messages left for them by a resident in said property who needs their intervention. Hellooooo. Anybody not out on the Green campaign bus ignoring the boring council stuff?

  9. pachallis Reply

    @Valerie Paynter – totally agreed – it’s probably symptomatic that after centre-green Jason Kitcat was re-elected as leader of the council/lead convenor of the green councillors, he no longer seems to be appearing on television nor making any quotes for the press.

    I also just spotted Keith Taylor’s posting on what the greens stand for:

    1. Keeping the NHS Public
    2. Paying workers a living wage
    3. Defending public services
    4. Creating sustainable jobs
    5. Protecting pensions and ending fuel poverty
    6. Nationalising rail and energy companies
    7. Abolishing tuition fees and increasing HE spending
    8. Increasing science funding

    So again NO mention of anything to do with the environment – the only mention is from the local MEPs related to being against fracking, which all other parties and the UN are in favour of as an emission lowering migration path to sustainable energy.

    The only grass roots support for the environment seems to come from a few loyal supporters such as HJarrs -the rest seem to be desperately looking to save their political careers by changing from centre-green to left-pink in an attempt to woo voters.

    Keith’s green manifesto does just sound like the labour party of the 1960s – hence their attacks on Labour. It will be interesting to see where the money for all these grandiose schemes will come from?

  10. pachallis Reply

    @Valerie Paynter – totally agreed – it’s probably symptomatic that after centre-green Jason Kitcat was re-elected as leader of the council/lead convenor of the green councillors, he no longer seems to be appearing on television nor making any quotes for the press.

    I also just spotted Keith Taylor’s posting on what the greens stand for:

    1. Keeping the NHS Public
    2. Paying workers a living wage
    3. Defending public services
    4. Creating sustainable jobs
    5. Protecting pensions and ending fuel poverty
    6. Nationalising rail and energy companies
    7. Abolishing tuition fees and increasing HE spending
    8. Increasing science funding

    So again NO mention of anything to do with the environment – the only mention is from the local MEPs related to being against fracking, which all other parties and the UN are in favour of as an emission lowering migration path to sustainable energy.

    The only grass roots support for the environment seems to come from a few loyal supporters such as HJarrs -the rest seem to be desperately looking to save their political careers by changing from centre-green to left-pink in an attempt to woo voters.

    Keith’s green manifesto does just sound like the labour party of the 1960s – hence their attacks on Labour. It will be interesting to see where the money for all these grandiose schemes will come from?

  11. Amanda Barnes Reply

    The wretched, incompetent Greens are in a state of cognitive dissonance when it comes to the environment; they allow gypsies to camp on Brighton parks and cause damage (bad for the environment) and both Welsh Green Party leader Pippa Bartolotti and Green MEP Jean Lambert have publicly stated that if they came to power, the Greens would abolish border controls (which would cause catastrophic damage to the environment.

    The Greens are not to be taken seriously as a credible political party

  12. Amanda Barnes Reply

    The wretched, incompetent Greens are in a state of cognitive dissonance when it comes to the environment; they allow gypsies to camp on Brighton parks and cause damage (bad for the environment) and both Welsh Green Party leader Pippa Bartolotti and Green MEP Jean Lambert have publicly stated that if they came to power, the Greens would abolish border controls (which would cause catastrophic damage to the environment.

    The Greens are not to be taken seriously as a credible political party

  13. ian killmister Reply

    D O N T V O T E G R E E N !!!!!

    Can I make it any clearer ?
    This joke party has to be put to sleep . I wonder to which other parties certain career councillors will move to ?
    he he he he he he he he he
    Will the others ” take certain councillors back ? ”

    HA HA HA HA

    the writing is on the wall

    I luv democracy in action . And luv to you all , Lemme x

  14. ian killmister Reply

    D O N T V O T E G R E E N !!!!!

    Can I make it any clearer ?
    This joke party has to be put to sleep . I wonder to which other parties certain career councillors will move to ?
    he he he he he he he he he
    Will the others ” take certain councillors back ? ”

    HA HA HA HA

    the writing is on the wall

    I luv democracy in action . And luv to you all , Lemme x

  15. mr Smith Reply

    ohh good .. someone young and with some experience has been found.. now maybe the moans about Jason kitkat will stop and finally we will have the counsel dealing with all the MESS of the last 100 years ! lol

  16. mr Smith Reply

    ohh good .. someone young and with some experience has been found.. now maybe the moans about Jason kitkat will stop and finally we will have the counsel dealing with all the MESS of the last 100 years ! lol

  17. pachallis Reply

    STOP PRESS

    Just seen the list of European Parliament candidates for the South East on the BBC web site http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-27051068

    Jason Kitcat looks like he’s hoping to do a runner! If he does get a gravy-train seat will he have to stop being leader of the council?

    List of green candidates:

    1. Keith Taylor
    2. Alexandra Phillips
    3. Derek Wall
    4. Jason Kitcat
    5. Miriam Kennet
    6. Beverly Golden
    7. Jonathan Essex
    8. Jonathan Kent
    9. Stuart Jeffrey
    10. Ray Cunningham

  18. pachallis Reply

    STOP PRESS

    Just seen the list of European Parliament candidates for the South East on the BBC web site http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-27051068

    Jason Kitcat looks like he’s hoping to do a runner! If he does get a gravy-train seat will he have to stop being leader of the council?

    List of green candidates:

    1. Keith Taylor
    2. Alexandra Phillips
    3. Derek Wall
    4. Jason Kitcat
    5. Miriam Kennet
    6. Beverly Golden
    7. Jonathan Essex
    8. Jonathan Kent
    9. Stuart Jeffrey
    10. Ray Cunningham

  19. pachallis Reply

    STOP PRESS

    Just seen the list of European Parliament candidates for the South East on the BBC web site http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-27051068

    Jason Kitcat looks like he’s hoping to do a runner! If he does get a gravy-train seat will he have to stop being leader of the council?

    List of green candidates:

    1. Keith Taylor
    2. Alexandra Phillips
    3. Derek Wall
    4. Jason Kitcat
    5. Miriam Kennet
    6. Beverly Golden
    7. Jonathan Essex
    8. Jonathan Kent
    9. Stuart Jeffrey
    10. Ray Cunningham

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