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.”
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