The Labour leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, Daniel Yates, is standing down.
A leadership contest will take place next week when the Labour group of councillors holds its annual general meeting (AGM).
And the winner will formally take over just over a week later at the council’s annual meeting.
East Brighton councillor Nancy Platts is currently the favourite to succeed him.
Councillor Yates last week became the first council leader to return to power after local elections in Brighton and Hove in almost 20 years.
But with concerns about his health and having decided to get married this month, he has written to colleagues to announce his resignation.
He said that he had been considering his move for some months, would support the new leadership and would continue to represent his ward – Moulsecoomb and Bevendean – on the council.
In his message to colleagues, Councillor Yates said: “I have been proud to have worked alongside you to bring us to this place.
“I was always proud to be part of the Labour Party and can remember how I told all my friends when I first joined in 1995 – even though I was joining as I was concerned over the potential direction that Tony Blair would eventually lead us in!
“Through the dark days of Iraq where I saw so many good friends and comrades walk away, I continued to be proud to be a member of a party with such a long tradition and such strong values and principles.
“You all know that Jeremy (Corbyn) wasn’t my first choice in either leadership election. Not because of the policies – far from it. But because I wasn’t sure that his leadership would be in the best interests of our long Labour tradition (the same reason I had concerns over Blair).
“But this is only part of the reason that I’m announcing today that I won’t be putting myself forward as leader after the AGM.
“I’m tired, really tired, and my physical and mental health won’t survive another 12 months of 17 to 18-hour days, constant pressures and high expectations.
“I’m also tired of having to be seen as the local face of a party which is increasingly risking its reputation, values and traditions over anti-semitism and Brexit.
“Frankly, I feel in as much of a quandary now as I did during the height of the anti-Iraq war protests.
“Lastly, though I also have other things happening that will also keep me pretty busy – I’m getting married in 10 days’ time so I also need to give some focus and positivity to that.
“Please don’t feel that I’m angry or responding to current events. This has been on the cards for some months (I warned some people before Christmas).
“And rest assured that I am so incredibly proud of the manifesto Labour has just won the city on. Our values principles and policies are entirely right for the city.
“I will be proud to support a new leadership to get them delivered and I will continue to be a proud Labour and Co-operative councillor for Moulsecoomb and Bevendean – a community that has been so kind and welcoming to me when kindness hasn’t always been evident everywhere.
“Thanks for all of your support – its means a lot and I’ll try to return it.”
The former Labour MP for Hove, Ivor Caplin, who was also the first Labour leader of the old Hove Borough Council, said: “Dan Yates has been an excellent leader for Labour and he will be missed.
“His successful budget deal, despite the cuts from the Tory government, was a great achievement.
“I hope Dan will continue to play a full senior role in the forthcoming administration which I am confident will deliver for the people of our great city.”
Conservative group leader Tony Janio, who said at the weekend that he was standing down as Tory leader, wished Councillor Yates well.
But Councillor Janio criticised him for going into an election without telling voters that he was considering standing down.
He questioned whether some would think that it was a coup in any event and compared the situation to the way Ken Livingstone had taken over the GLC (Greater London Council) in 1981.
Councillor Platts said: “Following the announcement by Daniel Yates earlier today I wish to put myself forward as leader of the Labour group.
“I would like to thank Daniel for all his hard work and service in contributing towards delivering Labour’s progressive policies during his time as both leader of the Labour group and Brighton and Hove City Council.
“The voters of Brighton and Hove have demonstrated that they wish to see a progressive agenda adopted by the council and I believe my values, experience and leadership skills can play a major role in delivering this.
“I am proud of our manifesto and the change I believe it can deliver for our city.
“In the next few days I will be seeking the support of our Labour councillors for me to take forward our vision and values in the city.”
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