BRIGHTON and Hove’s new mayor says she is delighted she has joined the high-achieving band of women “taking over “ the city.

Councillor Mo Marsh said it was great news so many top roles were now being filled by women and said she wished to use her mayoral year to highlight the challenges they still faced.

The Labour councillor has also stated her desire to make the role less formal, partly because of the impracticalities of the ceremonial robes for someone less than 5ft tall.

Cllr Marsh said: “I’m delighted that women are taking over the city and women of similar stature to me. You have our chief superintendent Lisa Bell, Dawn Whittaker at East Sussex Fire and Rescue as well as Marianne Griffiths at the hospital, Sam Allen at Sussex Community Partnership and Debra Humphris at the University of Brighton.

“I want to celebrate that fact. Together we are saying you can get to the top, but also highlight the challenges that we face.”

Tailor to the stars Gresham Blake created new mayoral robes in April but Cllr Marsh said the outfit still presented the same old difficulties for a role which requires attendance at very different events throughout a day and all times of year.

Cllr Marsh said: “The robes have to fit a tall man like [last mayor] Pete West but also someone like me who at best is 4ft ten inches and three quarters.

“Wearing the robes is very difficult when you are my size, especially if you’re having to walk to the Chattri over uneven ground. People will ask for the robes when they invite me to events but we quite often have to say no.”

Cllr Marsh said it had been a difficult first month because of terror attacks in Manchester and London, the General Election and the Grenfell Tower fire but she said the adversity had also inspired her to celebrate the strength, resilience and diversity of the city as key themes for her mayoral year.

With council budgets shrinking, Cllr Marsh said she wanted to celebrate the strength of the city’s volunteers as well as raising awareness about its youngsters, shining a light on women and important health issues and the arts scene, as an amateur dramatics actor herself.

Those themes are reflected in her five mayoral charities; The Martlets hospice, Albion in the Community, RISE, The Sussex Heart Charity and the Clock Tower Sanctuary.

Cllr Pete West became a well-known sight on his tandem riding to mayoral engagements but for his successor it will be the bus.

Cllr Marsh said: “I’m a great advocate of buses so I’m going to use them to go to official events. The mayoral car is a Toyota Prius anyway but I want to stress the importance of using buses in our city.”

The Labour councillor said she had not really thought about becoming mayor too much during her 22 years as councillor and deferred her right to take up the robes in 2014/15 to Brian Fitch because it was an election year and she was not ready to give up politics for a year.

She said this year was more fitting as it fell during her 70th birthday and coming ahead of her standing down from the council in 2019.


MAYOR Mo Marsh will use all her experience as a teacher to bring council meetings into line under her watch.

The city’s new mayor, who was officially sworn in last month, is keen to keep full council as streamlined and efficient as possible.

Council leader Warren Morgan is among figures who have spoken out over unnecessarily lengthy meetings, pointing to two decisions made in six hours at one in October 2015.

Cllr Marsh said: “I’m a teacher so I am very time conscious. Obviously I won’t be impeding the democratic process but I will also be prepared to say I’m prediabetic, I can’t just snack through it to finish very late.”

The new mayor also suggested the council should bring back food and refreshments for councillors at full council to improve the conditions for good decision making.

She said that by bringing back food it could create a more cross-party atmosphere to the chamber adding that hospitality through food was very much part of her Jewish background.

She said: “I would like to see us bring back food for the councillors at the very least a cup of tea. “We are there for seven, eight-hour meetings, and many have come from work before.”