Conservative leader quits

Posted On 04 May 2019 at 12:56 pm

Conservative leader Tony Janio is standing down after a disappointing set of local election results for his party in Brighton and Hove.

Councillor Tony Janio

He will remain sitting as a councillor but will make way for a new local leader of his party.

Councillor Janio narrowly held on to his seat in Hangleton and Knoll along with fellow ward councillors Dawn Barnett and Nick Lewry.

The Tory trio survived after a surge in support in their ward for Labour and four recounts at the Brighton Centre where the election results were declared.

But his party lost three seats in Withdean to the Greens, two in Hove wards to Labour and one in Rottingdean Coastal to Independent candidate Bridget Fishleigh.

Another Conservative councillor, Anne Meadows, who had switched from Labour, also lost her seat in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean.

As a result the Conservatives now have 14 seats on Brighton and Hove City Council compared with 21 going into the election and 20 when the council was elected four years ago.

Councillor Janio blamed Brexit and his party’s national leadership for their poor performance locally.

He said: “I couldn’t stand again as leader of the Conservative group while Theresa May remains Prime Minister.

“This was a massive Brexit kicking for us.”

He denied being petulant about losing and said that there was “sheer anger in the doorstep” over Brexit and the two main party leaders at Westminster.

He said: “You look around and you see what’s happened to us in other safe Tory areas.”

One of his deputies, Steve Bell, is the current favourite to take over although Councillor Janio declined to comment.

  1. Daniel Yates Reply

    Tony. An honourable action.

  2. Lev Eakins Reply

    “But his party lost threats in Withdean to the Greens..” Typo spotted – surely you mean “seats”?

  3. Tony Janio Reply

    Thanks Dan – what is left without honour?

  4. Frank le Duc Reply

    Thanks, Lev. My mistyping – now corrected.

  5. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    I had looked forward to some jocular sparring with cllr Janio. I do not think that he need step down as his Party’s Leader. As he says, there were other forces at work – I found bewilderment at the national situation on every doorstep, and told people that they were not alone in this. What’s more, Hangleton has always been a volatile area (Brian Fitch lost it in 2007 and was back in 2011). Speaking for myself, I kick myself that I did not try Central Hove again (as Tony had advised me rather than a new one, but heigh-ho! onwards!There are several seats the Greens can gain next time, and four years go by quickly (though not during Full Council meetings).I might yet have recourse to my swelling notebook of spontaneous gags about Tony.

  6. Sedgefield Reply

    These are fine words, Mr Hawtree, but it is common knowledge among the Hove set that you and Mr Janio script your ‘spats’ in advance with the assistance of a former Home & Away scriptwriter, in secretive conclave over a Vermouth on the rocks in The Brunswick. Amateur Dramatics loss is politics gain?

    • Christopher Hawtree Reply

      No, you are wrong (apart from the “fine words” bit). Tony and I have always delighted in being on our wits’ end. Once I substituted for somebody Green on, I think, Transport Committee, and I said, “Chair, I can see cllr Janio smiling at this news.” He riffed, “Chair, it’s a grimace!”

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