A COUNCIL leader agreed to let Labour party officials vet his public statements,emails seen by The Argus show.

Warren Morgan, Labour leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, made the concession after damning criticism from the chairs of the city’s three Constituency Labour Party (CLP) groups.

In the ten-email exchange, conducted throughout September and October, the CLP chairs also threatened the leader’s job, telling the city’s Labour councillors: “you may feel that [Cllr Morgan] should consider his position.”

The row erupted after Cllr Morgan’s public statement on the final day of the Labour party conference in September, in which he told the party it might not be welcome back in the city unless it took stronger steps to combat alleged anti-Semitic statements expressed in fringe meetings.

In an email on September 28, co-signed by Miriam Binder, Anne Pissaridou and Jon Rogers - the chairs of the Kemptown, Hove, and Pavilion CLPs - the officials called his statement “hasty, intemperate and ill-judged” and wrote: “Your foolish and embarrassing behaviour has done our Party harm.”

They said his statement was a “gift to opponents of Labour nationally”.

They concluded: “We therefore ask for your personal assurance that you will not, in future, make public attacks upon the Party but will raise matters appropriately within the Party.”

Cllr Morgan defended his actions, which he described as standing in solidarity with the Jewish community in the city, and said he had expected support, not condemnation, from Labour colleagues.

Through the course of the three-week correspondence he was repeatedly pressed by the CLP chairs to offer a specific assurance with regard to future statements which might reflect badly on the Labour party.

Eventually on October 16 he wrote: “I am happy to give an assurance that should I ever wish to make a public statement which might be construed as an attack on the Party, I will discuss it with Party colleagues first.”

The exchange was conducted in the run-up to Cllr Morgan’s first meeting with the newly-elected left-wing CLP chairs, which took place on Thursday October 26, days after Labour Cllr Kevin Allen called for Cllr Morgan’s resignation. On October 12, the CLP chairs had for the first time copied in Labour councillors to the exchange, writing: “If the Group Leader cannot give a simple assurance that he will have regard to the best interests of our Party and will behave responsibly in future, you may feel that he should consider his position.”