The leader of Adur Council has sparked anger for calling Brighton and Hove “a dump”.
Councillor Neil Parkin, who works in Brighton and Hove as a taxi driver, made the comments in response to a Labour colleague’s suggestion that Worthing town centre was “in dire straits”.
Calling the city “the socialist republic of Brighton and Hove”, he appeared to suggest that the Labour council had run it into the ground.
He told the Adur and Worthing Councils joint scrutiny committee on Tuesday night: “I’m staggered that the leader of the opposition in Worthing quite blatantly having a pop at Worthing for, in her words, not looking particularly nice.
“She obviously hasn’t been to the socialist republic of Brighton and Hove and seen what a dump that is
“Can I just say that as someone who travels to both places very regularly, Worthing is quite lovely most of the time. Winter it’s a bit grey but the rest of the time it’s quite lovely.
“Brighton is a dump nearly all year, in fact all year.”
He was responding to Councillor Beccy Cooper, the Labour group leader for Worthing Council, who had earlier asked why more hadn’t been done to improve the town centre years ago.
She said: “If we had done this before we wouldn’t be in quite dire straits now . . . It does feel like we’re suddenly going to do this because of coronavirus, and I feel we should have done this quite a long time before.”
Leader of Brighton and Hove Council, Councillor Nancy Platts called for an apology to the people of Brighton and Hove from Councillor Parkin.
She said: “I have been working very constructively with other council leaders across the region to lead on the economic recovery for all of us – recognising that people work and live in different towns and cities within the Greater Brighton area.
“Councillor Parkin’s comments are not only damaging to Brighton and Hove as the major city in the region which delivers hundreds of thousands of jobs and millions of pounds to the local economy; but also to the whole region.
“I’m proud of our city and what we are doing to recover from the Covid pandemic and would not dream of making derogatory comments about a neighbouring area – especially at such a sensitive time.
“I hope that Councillor Parkin will now apologise to the people of Brighton and Hove and withdraw his unfortunate comments.”