Green MP Caroline Lucas has backed Brighton and Hove’s Green council’s decision to push for a public referendum on a 4.75% increase in council tax.
But the country’s only Green Member of Parliament failed to explicitly back the embattled leader of her party’s council, Jason Kitcat, who is facing a mutiny from those within his party.
Responding to a call from Brighton and Hove Labour group leader Warren Morgan – who challenged her to stop the infighting within the council’s Green party – the Brighton PavilionMP said: “I’ve made my position crystal clear throughout.
“We’re in this terrible situation because of the coalition’s callous and counterproductive programme of austerity – a programme Labour say they would stick to when it comes to spending on welfare.
“People in Brighton and Hove didn’t choose to have the services they rely on threatened as a result of the Government’s savage cuts.
“It’s disappointing that Labour aren’t focusing more on that, instead of joining forces with the Tories to add to the misery being inflicted on people.
“As MP for Brighton Pavilion, my job is to be on the side of my constituents and stand up for them.
“Part of that means challenging local politicians of every colour to come clean and put forward constructive solutions for dealing with the terrible situation we’re in.”
But Coun Morgan said it was time for the MP to come clean about her feelings towards the council’s Green Party leader, who is facing a second attempt to oust him in as many years.
In a statement Coun Morgan said: “It is time Caroline Lucas said where she stands on howthis council is being run.
“Jason Kitcat has lost a vote of no confidence and now seems set to face yet another coup attempt from within the Green group.
“Does she think it is a responsible way for her party to run the city she represents?
Whose side is she on? What is her involvement in this latest plot?”
A spokes-man for the MP said she supported the council tax referendum but would not confirm if she would give her support to Coun Kitcat as leader of Brighton and Hove’s Green Party.