The big – and outstanding – news for Labour this week has, of course, been the local elections.
Although our city-wide vote isn’t until next year, we did have one by-election caused by the sudden departure of Conservative Joe Miller from Rottingdean Coastal ward.
Like most of my colleagues on Brighton and Hove City Council, I’ve been out door-knocking in the ward – which currently covers the area from Sussex Square in Kemp Town right through to west Saltdean, though set to change in the local boundary reviews this summer – showing support for our candidate Dr Robert McIntosh.
Robert is a dedicated, organised and extremely hard-working candidate who has run a fantastic campaign.
It all paid off when we succeeded in taking the seat from the Tories despite strong competition from a field of six that included two Independents, a Lib Dems and a Green.
Both our local MPs – Kemptown’s own Lloyd Russell-Moyle and Peter Kyle from Hove – were also out on the stump.
And it has been fascinating hearing from people exactly how anxious, fed-up and often enraged they are about the bigger picture in national government.
Rottingdean Coastal is not the poorest ward in the city by any measure, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t pockets of real poverty, plus many more people only just keeping their heads above water in the current cost-of-living crisis.
I had doorstep conversations with residents extremely worried about how much worse it is likely to get this winter, with high inflation, rises in tax and national insurance and another huge fuel price hike coming in October.
Across the Kemptown and Peacehaven constituency, the child poverty rate was a shocking 32 per cent even before all this, with both Brighton Pavilion and Hove only a bit lower on 24 per cent, and an 82 per cent increase in universal credit claims in the city over the last year.
So, residents are undoubtedly – and depressingly – right to be concerned about the way the economy is being handled/mishandled at a national level.
Still – to end on a positive note – we are delighted to welcome a new Labour councillor locally for Rottingdean Coastal, will always pledge to do everything we can to work for the good of all residents across our city, congratulate Wandsworth, Westminster and Barnet for electing Labour councils.
And at the time of writing, we have everything crossed for our western neighbours in Worthing in their count today and our eastern neighbours in the Peacehaven by-election next week.
Councillor Amanda Evans is the deputy leader of the Labour opposition on Brighton and Hove City Council.