Labour’s threat to Green control over two Brighton and Hove City Council committees (From The Argus)
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Labour’s threat to Green control over two Brighton and Hove City Council committees
A political deadlock could exist in Brighton and Hove as opponents look to strip control of two key town hall committees from the Greens.
Following their by-election victory last week, the Labour group on Brighton and Hove City Council has lodged a request to officials for two extra committee seats.
If approved, it will mean the Green minority administration loses its casting vote on the influential policy and resources committee, as well as the environment, transport and sustainability committee.
With the ruling group’s power watered down, it means it will have to work with opposition parties to get key policies voted through.
If not, then Labour and Conservative councillors could unite and reject the plans.
The change comes about after Labour overturned a Green majority of nearly 1,000 to win a seat in Hanover and Elm Grove ward last week.
Warren Morgan, leader of the Labour group, said: “Residents have sent a clear signal they have had enough of the division and lack of delivery seen from the Greens.
“Residents want a united, sensible and fair approach from a -party with a proven track record of running local services.
“Labour will continue to challenge the minority Green administration on an issue by issue basis, and will be looking for a far more co-operative approach from the Greens, especially when Tory government cuts are biting ever deeper into local services.”
The council currently operates on a committee systemwhere most decisions are made by a series of dedicated cross-party panels.
The number of seats allocated on each body is based on the percentage of elected members that each party has on the local authority.
Following Thursday, the Greens have 21 councillors, Conservatives 18, and Labour 14 with one independent.
The Argus understands the issue is set to be reviewed by town hall lawyers in the coming days.
It is not known if a proposed redistribution will be brought to a meeting of all 54 councillors on Thursday.
If not, the issue is unlikely to be resolved until after summer.
Conservative councillor Geoffrey Theobald said: “Even before the by-election we have consistently argued the Green Party simply doesn’t have enough councillors to justify holding a majority on the main Policy and Resources Committee, but the Labour Group, for reasons best know to them, did not support us.
“They have no alternative but to accept, for the sake of local democracy, that all the key committees should be properly proportionate.”
Council leader Jason Kitcat was not available to comment at the time of going to print.
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