Rebel councillors in Brighton’s Green Party have launched another mutiny against their embattled leader Jason Kitcat.
A group of disgruntled councillors hope to change the rules on how the leader is elected in an effort to stop Coun Kitcat winning a third term as convenor of the Green Party.
Since 2010 the leader of the Green group has been chosen by an electoral college, with the votes cast by current councillors being given 50% of the weighting and the other 50% from party members.
But rebels are planning to table a motion that would give local party members and councillors one vote each – giving equal say over who becomes the next leader.
Coun Kitcat has been facing intense pressure to resign as council leader, both from within and outside his party, particularly over his decision to press ahead with a referendum to increase council tax by nearly 5%.
Last month the council passed a motion of no confidence in the local Green leader by 29 votes to 20.
This latest action comes a year after a failed bid to oust the leader and has been described by some senior party figures as “extremely destructive”.
Opposition leaders used the moment to call for the minority administration to resign.
“How can the Greens focus on the demanding day-to-day business of running a large city when they are continually pre-occupied with their own party politics?” said Conservative group leader, Geoffrey Theobald.
Labour leader Warren Morgan added: “The Greens should be focused on the big decisions involved in running the city, but yet again they are fighting like rats in a sack on a ship that is rapidly sinking.
“They should all do the decent thing and resign.”
Last year a group of socialist Green councillors, who nicknamed themselves the “watermelons” attempted, and failed, in a bid to convince Phelim MacCafferty – then deputy council leader – to stand against Coun Kitcat in the party’s annual elections, but when he refused they moved to force a vote |to reopen nominations for the leadership.
Coun Kitcat survived that battle, but with the support of just 12 of the 23 Green councillors.
The party’s internal election process is already under way for 2014/15 and it is understood that the rebel motion will be presented at an extraordinary party meeting on February 25.
According to party sources, the motion, which needs two-thirds support, is unlikely to be passed and it is still unclear if the motion could be brought in to change the current election process.