Now we must deliver urgent action on the key issues facing Brighton and Hove

This week Brighton and Hove City Council held its annual meeting to determine the roles of all councillors and this is my first column as the newly elected leader of the official opposition. I was immensely proud to officially welcome my 12 new Green councillor colleagues to Brighton Town Hall....

New council leader commits to a progressive and collaborative approach to politics to bring about change

Politics should be a route through which people can express their hopes and concerns; a safe place where we can talk about the kind of world we want to live in and plot a course to making it a reality. I was very proud of Labour’s manifesto process, where we engaged hundreds of members locally...

Whatever Ofsted says, Moulsecoomb Primary is an outstanding community school

The other week a woman who ran a puppet show at Moulsecoomb Primary said the school had a “big heart”. The show was about children’s mental health and one of the activities was getting children to write a list of things that help them with their wellbeing. At most other schools pupils said...

We will support what is right for the city

As we see the dust settle from the local elections in Brighton and Hove, none of the parties saw the results we were all hoping for. Labour didn’t become the majority administration. The Greens didn’t become the minority administration. The Conservatives didn’t even remain the largest...
Posted On 18 May 2019

Leader’s farewell message

In under a week I will be stepping down as leader of the council and handing over to the next leader. It’s fair to say that this year has been both exhausting and exhilarating in equal measure. However, the opportunity to ensure that the council delivered on some of the many important issues...

We will all need to change our lifestyles to achieve radical action on climate change

The local elections in Brighton and Hove delivered the clearest possible mandate for radical action on climate change. Both Labour and the Greens made net-zero emissions prominent in their manifestos, set against the backdrop of Extinction Rebellion and the Schools’ Climate Strike. Now that...

Why I’m resigning from the party I loved

The following letter has been sent to Labour Party general secretary Jennie Formby. It is with sincere regret that I tender my resignation from the Labour Party. The party has been my political home since I left school and foster-care in the late 1980s — so that’s over a quarter of a century of...
Posted On 11 May 2019

Labour and Green manifestos are twins separated at birth

It has been quite a busy couple of weeks for the city council and for local politics, and with the results of the city council elections yet again failing to give a clear majority to one Party to have overall control. However, with Labour on 20 Councillors I’m really pleased that we have been...

Let’s celebrate the EU, and work to make it better for everyone

Today we are celebrating the European Union and all that it gives us. To me the EU means peace, guaranteed human rights, freedom of movement and building friendships, relationship and families across borders. Borders that have become more and more irrelevant in our daily lives. The European...

Brexit, Trump and now Withdean – major political surprises of recent times

Yes, I know categorising Brexit and Trump with what happened in Withdean is a tad extreme but, believe me, it was just as shocking. A previously safe Conservative Ward – all three seats – fell to the Greens. Even so, I would like to publicly and warmly congratulate Sarah Nield,...
Posted On 07 May 2019

The challenge facing Labour in Brighton and Hove

We did not achieve the Labour majority on Brighton and Hove City Council which we wanted as the votes were counted from the elections held on Thursday (2 May). And we lost some good comrades, both from among sitting councillors and candidates in seats which we had hoped to win. This was largely...
Posted On 05 May 2019

Why didn’t Labour win the city’s first majority socialist council?

This was to have been the election that delivered Brighton and Hove’s first majority socialist council. So while congratulations to the successful Labour candidates who did win is clearly the order of the day, its also important to reflect on why the party fell short of its target. This will be...

Good for Greens, bad for Labour, terrible for the Tories

Some thoughts on this year’s Brighton and Hove elections. It was a great result for the Greens. In some wards where you’d expect Corbyn’s Labour to run close, the Greens put down mega majorities (Preston Park and Regency look like St Peter’s and North Laine now) The...

A progressive coalition in Brighton and Hove would be a pragmatic way forward

The election results across the city have once again shown that the majority of residents support progressive politics and reject the regressive Conservatives and their ongoing austerity policy. Over recent weeks many resident, businesses and community organisations have bemoaned to me and our...

Three colours Brighton – but which will get things done?

Now that Brighton and Hove’s had three different coloured administrations, it’s an interesting time to reflect on how the city has progressed over the last decade of recession and austerity, and who would be best equipped now to take the city through the uncertain times ahead. I was...

Valley Gardens scheme isn’t toxic, it’s fabulous

Last week I saw a post calling for radical solutions to the city’s transport network but was disappointed to read that one of the first ‘radical solutions’ was to retain some old bus stops, admittedly aesthetically pleasing bus stops, but all the same old bus stops. Rather than a plea for an...

A plague on all their houses – veteran Hove campaigner’s guide to the local elections

Radio 4’s World at One coverage of the mood of the electorate, ahead of Thursday’s local elections, produced the comment I used to ruefully title this post. The chaos of Westminster has poisoned the well of politics entirely it would seem, exposing the threadbare truth beneath the window...

Revive Brighton and Hove’s spirit of liberty by voting Conservative next Thursday

The residents of Brighton and Hove will choose a new administration on Thursday 2 May. The election will be about many things but above all it is about reviving the spirit of liberty our city thrives upon. Built on the talent of its residents, our city is well-placed to benefit from the coming...
Posted On 26 Apr 2019

Get out and vote – it will all be over soon

This is my last column published as leader of the council before the results of the local elections are known (although I will have to write next week’s before we have seen the outcome). Many of you will be relieved for a little less electioneering and a stronger focus on delivering manifesto...

Brighton’s toxic transport crisis  

Brighton has an environmental crisis with illegal levels of particulate and nitrogen dioxide pollution. Poor council traffic planning has contributed to making our city streets among the most polluted in the UK. It needs a radical solution. Public funding to achieve this is welcome but the...