Former Brighton Labour councillors align with The Independent Group of breakaway MPs

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

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 Michael Inkpin-Leissner

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.”

  1. Gilbert Bligh Reply

    Any politician who chooses to no longer represent the party that they were voted in for should immediately resign as they no longer have the mandate to act on behalf of the electorate.
    I think their objective is to try and hijack the democratic process in an attempt to stop brexit – their actions amount to nothing more than foot-stamping, spoilt little brats that can’t get their own way.

    • Christopher Hawtree Reply

      No, the fact is that one votes for a person. Otherwise Parties would not choose between potential candidates in an area.

      And, of course, why did you not put yourself forward as a candidate rather than lay down the law from the sidelines?

      There have been these Independent “groups” of two on the Council before, such as the time when former Tories Jayne Bennett and Anne Giebler chucked it in – but I think that they could not then agree between themselves and did not become a Group.

      And last time there were three of them, including two disgraced Greens – Ben Duncan and Christina Summers – as well as Labour’s bad-tempered Leigh Farrow who became a one-man ukip councillor (he had disgraced himself on the Planning Committee, and cllr Mitchell had him thrown off it).

  2. Cllr Michael Inkpin-Leissner Reply

    We both were elected to support the Labour Group. That is what we do. And trust me, we will keep Momentum out of this as long as possible to get proper work done. Brighton and Hove does not need lakeland policies, which can’t be afforded!

    • Gilbert Bligh Reply

      You have aligned yourself to a group that is making a futile attempt to stop Brexit.
      The Labour party are committed to implementing Brexit – if you and Morgan don’t agree with that, you should resign and allow someone to stand for the Labour party who is prepared to support their policies.
      Also, stop using ‘anti-semitism’ as a smokescreen for the real issue – the undemocratic prevention of Brexit.

  3. Gilbert Bligh Reply

    The electorate mostly vote for a person belonging to a main political party that is going to run the country or council – voting for an individual person is almost pointless without that person representing a political party.. either Labour or Conservatives have formed Governments for the last hundred years.. your response shows you to be in alliance with our anti-democracy seeking rebels… and as a Green party member and remain supporter there is no surprise there – as I said, these ‘rebels’ should resign immediately and let the electorate decide who they want to represent them – I used to laugh at the monster raving loony candidates.. that’s exactly what we’ve got with this new bunch of clowns

  4. Chris Reply

    More and more people I know are totally fed up, p…ed off, exasperated, angry and disgusted at the antics of both main political parties, let alone the minor ones, and wish that politics would simply cease to exist in favour of more representatives who actually appear to want to help the country and population rather than chasing their own dreams or those of their deluded leaders. Independent groups are attractive, although ineffective which is also frustrating. Add to this the apparent ineptitude of council officers, civil servants (now there’s a misnomer), and many company employees and it makes for a lot of unhappy people who can’t do anything about the situation.

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