The former Labour leader of Brighton and Hove City Council and a colleague have joined ranks and aligned with a group of breakaway MPs.
Councillor Warren Morgan, who served as council leader for three years until last year, has formed an Independent Group on the council after leaving Labour last week.
He is joining forces with Councillor Michael Inkpin-Leissner who left the Labour Party two years ago.
They are aligning themselves with the new Independent Group in the House of Commons, formed by eight former Labour MPs and three Tories.
The breakaway group opposes Brexit, with the eight former Labour MPs also having cited anti-semitism in their old party’s ranks.
Councillor Morgan, who represents East Brighton ward, has been an outspoken critic of Brexit – Britain’s exit from the European Union – and a vocal opponent of anti-semitism.
German-born Councillor Inkpin-Leissner, who represents Hollingdean and Stanmer ward, was an enthusiastic Remain campaigner in the referendum in 2015 and has also spoken out about anti-semitism.
Almost 70 per cent of voters in Brighton and Hove backed Remain in the referendum.
As the Independent Group is not a registered political party but a group of like-minded MPs, any support at this stage is only symbolic.
Councillor Morgan, 51, said: “Michael and I are both Independents on the council and both support the The Independent Group in Parliament but we’ve had no official contact or sanction from them so far.”
He said that he and Councillor Inkpin-Leissner, also 51, would vote with Labour on the council, effectively giving their former party 21 votes.
This would match the 21 votes that the Conservatives now have after Councillor Anne Meadows, 61, defected from Labour to the Tories last week.
Councillor Morgan said: “In terms of votes, we will vote with Labour, making it 21-21, with the 11 Greens holding the balance.”
He said that he had not completely ruled out standing for election again on Thursday 2 May, adding that he would find it hard after 27 years in the Labour Party.
He said: “I am very reluctant indeed to stand on any slate opposing the Labour one that has good friends on still.
“But after one of the longest weeks in politics there is relatively speaking an absolute age to go till nominations close so I won’t rule it out.”
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