Greens formally take over running of Brighton and Hove City Council

Posted On 23 Jul 2020 at 5:56 pm

The Greens have formally taken charge of Brighton and Hove City Council at a “virtual” meeting of the full council this afternoon (Thursday 23 July).

Labour supported the handover of power after two party members resigned on Monday (20 July).

But the Conservatives voted against the new arrangements, with the party’s leader Councillor Steve Bell saying: “The Conservative group today voted against the return of a Green administration, citing the disastrous performance of the city’s last Green administration as a worrying indicator for the future.

“The Conservatives had offered to provide support to a moderate Labour administration but only if they acted to remove any councillor suspended for racism from their group with immediate effect.

“The Conservatives were advised on Tuesday that Labour had rejected this offer and would not take this action.

“The previous Green administration presided over a series of failures for the city, overturning the stable financial state left by the previous Conservative administration and leaving Brighton and Hove in a mess.

“These failures include

  • wrecking the city’s finances, abandoning the value for money programme
  • presiding over a series of strikes that left rubbish piling up and made international headlines
  • trying to enforce ‘Meat Free Mondays’ at Cityclean HQ, angering the city’s waste collectors
  • abandoning ‘estate regeneration’ which cost the city 800 council homes

Conservative councillor Mary Mears, the current deputy mayor, who ran the last Conservative administration, said that if past performance was anything to go by, the city could be set for chaos and escalating strikes over coming years.

She said: “The previous Conservative administration left the city in a financially stable position with no strikes during our term in office.

“The Greens then presided over chaos for four years and in many ways the city is still dealing with the aftermath of the problems they created.

“Cityclean has never really recovered, with the collection service still letting residents down.

“The city faces a possible strike in August over the transfer of staff into an in-house housing maintenance programme.

“The Conservatives could not support a return to the chaos of the Greens and voted against this today.”

  1. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    Councillor Bell’s memory has gone on strike. In fact, the Conservatives often supported the Green administration – notably cllr Cox – which meant that things went through, despite Labour’s opposition to them (one thinks, for example, of the life-saving 20mph measure which was also, in cllr Sykes’s phrase “accepted by that hot-bed of Marxist-Leninism, the City of London). As for the Bins Strike, the Greens took responsibility to avert the place being bankrupted. Previous administrations, crucially the Conservative one had gone along with the illegal GMB notion that CityClean staff be paid for 2.5 unworked hours per week: that’s why it did not go on strike. This meant that, unless stopped, all Council staff could claim that amount of pay – four years’ worth – backdated. The situation would have been worse than Birmingham’s. Alas, lawyers said that this could not be publicised lest the GMB get upset (poor dears); in retrospect, the lawyers should have been ignored and all this publicised at the time, but everybody lives and learns.

    Alas, cllr Bell has not done so.

    As for Meat-Free Monday, this was not a Green Party decree but imposed by a Head of Service (who lived in… Lewes, where her bins were collected without fuss). That is a highlight of the officer/councillor dichotomy.

  2. Nigel Furness Reply

    Well thank you, Christopher for your honesty on this occasion, by publicly stating that, in retrospect, the lawyers should have been ignored.
    Are you now in a position to enlighten me as to whether the Green Group’s decision at that time to follow the lawyers advice was unanimous, or were there any dissenting voices raised, such as your own, perhaps?
    I await your reply with interest.

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