A MAYOR was urged to quit last night when a resident claimed her political post was a "conflict of interest".

At a Brighton and Hove City Council meeting last night, Hove resident Nigel Furness said mayor Alexandra Phillips should "do the decent thing and relinquish the chains of office".

Historically the ceremonial post of mayor has been politically neutral, although the holder is a councillor who usually belongs to a political party.
Mr Furness said at the meeting: "Our current mayor, Councillor Alex Phillips, also holds office as a Member of the European Parliament and is now proposing to stand as a parliamentary candidate for Brighton Kemptown.

“As these latter two categories involve publicly participating in politics, is this a conflict of interest?
“I would like to ask Madam Mayor if she would do the decent thing and relinquish the chains of office."

Council leader Nancy Platts responded by saying it was "not appropriate" for her to comment on the dispute.

But she said: "You are certainly not alone in raising this with me, as have many other members of the public and members of this council.
“However, your question relates to the mayoralty rather than the policies or actions of the administration.
The council’s monitoring officer Abraham Ghebre-Ghiorghis said Councillor Phillips could continue as mayor while holding political office.
Mr Ghebre-Ghiorghis said: “The role of the mayor is a statutory role and [the law] does not prohibit the mayor from undertaking other political roles.
“It does not restrict him or her from becoming an MEP or an MP – but a person cannot be an MP and MEP at the same time.
“Should she be successful at a future general election, she will have to resign as an MEP.”
Mr Ghebre-Ghiorghis said as long as Councillor Phillips acted in a politically neutral way while carrying out her official duties as the mayor, she would not be breaking any rules.
He said that there was “nothing unlawful, illegal or improper” in holding the post of mayor while serving as an MEP, provided the mayor did not use her role for party political purposes.
Councillor Phillips has been a Green councillor since winning a by-election in Goldsmid ward, in Hove, in July 2009. She now represents Regency ward in Brighton.
In May she held her seat at the local elections and weeks later she became the youngest mayor of Brighton and Hove.
After the meeting, Councillor Phillips said: “I’m honoured to serve Brighton and Hove as mayor and I’m honoured to have been elected as an MEP.
“I take my duties very seriously although I will of course leave it to voters to judge me on my record.”