Brighton’s newest councillor Nancy Platts is joining a close ally of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to address a Momentum meeting in Brighton this evening (Tuesday 20 February).
Councillor Platts, who was elected to Brighton and Hove City Council earlier this month in East Brighton Ward, is speaking alongside Chris Williamson, the Labour MP for Derby North. She replaced Lloyd Russell-Moyle, who became the Labour MP for Brighton Kemptown at the general election last June.
A flyer for the Momentum meeting said: “The Labour Party is changing, both nationally and locally.
“Jeremy Corbyn is the first Labour leader, since Clement Attlee, to have been a local councillor.
“He has spoken about ‘the rebirth of municipal socialism’, an end to privatisation and the protection of jobs and public services.
“So what is to be done when Labour is in power in local government?
“Chris Williamson, the Labour MP for Derby North (@DerbyChrisW), is a leading – and outspoken – supporter of Mr Corbyn.
“To mark the start of the process to select Labour candidates for the Brighton and Hove City Council elections in May next year, Momentum Brighton and Hove has invited Chris to discuss what socialist councillors can achieve under a Tory government – and what they can do to prepare for a Corbyn-led government.
“Momentum Brighton and Hove is especially delighted to welcome Councillor Nancy Platts, the latest addition to the Labour Group on Brighton and Hove City Council, who secured a remarkable 67 per cent of the votes in the East Brighton by-election – that’s twice as many as all the other candidates combined.
“The third speaker is Hove-born Phil Rose, one of the founders of the ‘Stop HDV’ campaign in Haringey.
“Phil, who worked in housing and homelessness in local government and the non-statutory sector for most of his career, is a member of Tottenham Constituency Labour Party.
“Our fourth and final speaker is Nikkie Brennan (@BrennanNichole), a tireless campaigner for the homeless in Brighton and Hove, who is also a trustee of Brighton Community Night Shelter, which is working to set up a permanent community shelter for homeless people in our city.
“We hope the meeting will help inspire as many socialists as possible to put themselves forward – before (Tuesday) 3 April – for selection as Labour council candidates in our city, to help us achieve the first socialist majority in the history of Brighton and Hove City Council.
“Join us at Friends’ Meeting House at 7.30pm on Tuesday 20 February.”
Today is also the day that Labour in Brighton and Hove started the process to select the 54 candidates that it hopes to field at the next local elections in May next year.
The party currently has 22 of the 54 seats on the council – and generally has the support of a 23rd, an independent who was elected on a Labour ticket. It needs 28 for a majority.
The party’s Local Campaign Forum is meeting this evening at Community Base, in Queen’s Road, Brighton, to agree a selection timetable.
By the time of the next Local Campaign Forum meeting on Tuesday 8 May a provisional list of suitable candidates should be ready to be approved and sent to branches.
And all or most of the selections are hoped to be completed during May and June with a mop up in July and August if needed.
Five or six of the 22 sitting Labour councillors have indicated that they may stand down in 2019.
While few are considered Corbynites, retirement beckons for some and may be preferable to an ideological battle.
Another clue to the pace of change in the direction of the local party will come at the annual general meeting (AGM) in April.
The outcome could persuade others either to seek another four-year term as a councillor – or take the chance to stand down with dignity after helping steer the council through a financially challenging four years.
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