Moderate Labour councillors oppose Green alliance

Posted On 21 Jul 2020 at 9:36 am

Seven moderate Labour councillors say they oppose a coalition with the Greens amid the fallout of two fellow members quitting the party.

Council leader Nancy Platts offered a power sharing arrangement to the Greens yesterday after an emergency meeting of the Labour group.

The meeting was called at an hour’s notice because, councillors were told, at least one of them was set to quit the party.

An email from group secretary, Cllr Amanda Evans, said: “It is anticipated, however, that events may unfold very urgently which will mean that the Labour group has fewer members.”

Incredibly, the meeting was chaired by Cllr Kate Knight, who within an hour of the meeting ending had resigned from the party.

The local party said she was only officially suspended following tbe meeting.

The offer was made, but as the Greens were meeting virtually to discuss it, Cllr Nichole Brennan also resigned from the party.

Both were under investigation for anti-Semitism. A third Labour councillor, Anne Pissaridou, has been suspended for alleged anti-Semitism but remains a member.

However, although she is expected to follow the whip, she is not allowed to attend group meetings.

This means there are now 18 Labour councillors, but only 17 who have a say over entering into an alliance.

The alliance is mainly backed by Momentum councillors, seven of whom have a vote.

This morning, Carmen Appich, Peter Atkinson, Les Hamilton, Chris Henry, Tracey Hill, Jackie O’Quinn and Alan Robins released a statement.

It said: “We are writing to voice our opposition to a formal coalition with the Green group.

“While we share some of the Greens’ aspirations and want to work with them where we can, we support our current arrangement of co-operating in certain policy areas, yet maintaining a strong Labour voice in areas such as jobs, the economy and running the basics of the city well.

“Anything beyond co-operation would be inexplicable to residents who still associate the Greens with administrative incompetence.

“The Labour Party is not the Green Party. In 2015 Labour seized control of the council from the Greens.

“In 2019 we campaigned on a Labour Party manifesto which puts the concerns and ambitions of ordinary people across the city first.

“We want a healthy, thriving, clean and sustainable city which works for everyone, and we believe, as we always have, that Labour is the party to deliver it.

“We have all spoken to residents who put their confidence in us as Labour Party candidates, not Greens.

“We want to continue to work with other councillors as much as we can to make our policies a reality.

“We do not want to rewrite our manifesto in a bid to stay in power which is not workable.

“We are not a solely urbanite party, but one which seeks to speak for everyone across our city from Portslade to Hangleton to Withdean to Rottingdean.

“We are dismayed at the antisemitic material that serving councillors have shared on social media.

“We entirely support the party leadership in refusing to tolerate antisemitism.

“We must right the wrongs that have been done to the Jewish community and work hard to regain the trust of the public.

“This will be a difficult process but we must be guided at all times by our values regardless of the cost.

“As you know, our group meeting on Friday concluded that we didn’t want to consider power-sharing at this time.

“As there was no agreement on Friday to consult with members, the vast majority of party members haven’t been asked for a view.

“It’s disappointing therefore that “opinions of the membership” was given as the reason for yesterday morning’s emergency meeting, called at an hour’s notice.

“It’s also concerning that the chair of the meeting was apparently already aware of her imminent suspension from the party and announced her resignation just a few minutes after the meeting ended. We therefore question the legitimacy of this meeting.

“We are asking you please to take our views into account as we navigate through this difficult time, and step back from any offer of formal power-sharing.”

  1. Heather McKenzie Reply

    Jo, as a fellow journalist, I would advise you to stop presenting opinion as fact. The use of the word ‘incredibly’ when referring to Councillor Knight chairing the meeting is your opinion. You obviously do not know any of the people involved. Your journalism might improve if you sought to present all sides to a story.

    • Rolivan Reply

      So could youu explain why She was allowed to Chair the ‘Meeting’ then please.
      Surely the timeline is important.

    • Luke Stanger Reply

      Jo was absolutely right to highlight the incredible nature of Kate Knight chairing a Labour Group Meeting after it’s believed she had been formally suspended from the party. Furthermore, I don’t think Jo requires lectures on journalism from those that are apologists for the rabid antisemites she has exposed. Through her very thorough investigative journalism, she has exposed the racist sewer our party has sunk into in recent years, and how unsafe a place it has been for people of Jewish faith. Jo’s journalistic abilities are very much intact by most people’s standards I believe.

  2. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    The fact is that the Greens have the most Councillors now. Labour does not appear to recognise that. And why is the now-Mayor, who madly insisted on closing down Hove Library, signing such a “statement” when he is meant to be non political?

    The main result of the “statement” is to make plain that Labour is divided.

    • ChrisC Reply

      That may be a fact but it’s not how the council works.

      The Greens can’t just go to the Town Hall and try and take over.

      It would require a vote at full council to (a) declare no confidence in the current Labour Adminiostration and then (b) elect a Green leader and committee chairs. There is a council meeting on Thursday. It could be interesting!

      • Christopher Hawtree Reply

        Good point. Will Labour want to flounder more?

    • Daniel Harris Reply

      I had the same thoughts. I will be writing to the council and complaining.

      • Christopher Hawtree Reply

        It will be curious to see how the Mayor runs the meeting. In person at the Culture Committee he was not on top of the subject, and now there is the complexity of sitting with the Mace in the back bedroom on a dodgy video link, no whispering for officer guidance.

    • Nigel Furness Reply

      So you believe in democracy now, do you Chris? Well there’s a funny thing! You’re right to say that the Greens, with one more Councillor than Labour, have a right to rule but it’s a pity that you and your erstwhile colleagues wern’t as quick to defend the democratic rights of the 17.4 million electors who won the Referendum to wrest back control of our beloved country from the clutches of that EVIL EMPIRE otherwise known as theEUROPEAN UNION OF SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS–abd by half a million votes at that! Then again, as you seem incapable of differentiating FACTS from FICTION, you’ll no doubt attribute this to FAKE NEWS–there’s a lot of it about!

  3. Rob A Reply

    Good on these Labour Councillors – I hope others join them in their stance.

  4. Gerry R Reply

    Wow – amazing that there are as many as 7 Brighton Labour councillors who are NOT antisemitic, or suspended for antisemitism or resigned for antisemitism: who knew?

  5. Rolivan Reply

    Will this bring about a change in the Selection process of Candidates?
    It does make one wonder why these issues weren’t flagged before!

  6. Paul J Williams Reply

    Can we PLEASE have a council which puts Brighton and its taxpayers FIRST and actually listens to them and provides what they are paying their council tax for?
    Consultations after roads have been closed or cycle lanes have been put in are SHAM consultations.
    No patient signs a consent form AFTER the operation!

    • Martjt Reply

      I think we all know the answer to that

  7. Daniel Harris Reply

    Concerning to hear the Mayor getting political “The office of Mayor is ceremonial and not political”.

  8. Valerie Reply

    And so the squalid gamesmanshio spins on. These 7 cllrs are lying and ramping up the bogus antisemitism garbage purveyed as open defamation of their left wing faction colleagues, and Heather Mackenzie is right to challenge Jo Wadsworth whose views are very clear on this issue. I’m surprised she did not delete Ms Mackenzie’s comment TBH!

  9. SM Reply

    “……yet maintaining a strong Labour voice in areas such as jobs, the economy and running the basics of the city well.”

    Running the basics of the city well. Well that’s an epic failure.

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