A ROW has broken out over Christmas cards sent out by a mayor.

The innocent festive cards signed by Brighton and Hove mayor Alexandra Phillips were delivered around the Brighton and Hove City Council’s offices last Wednesday.

But councillors Daniel Yates and Clare Moonan quickly complained to the council’s legal department when they received theirs, questioning whether the cards were a “flagrant breach” of pre-election rules.

Cllr Phillips was running as the Green parliamentary candidate for Brighton Kemptown and had stepped down from her duties as mayor during the General Election.

In an email to the city council’s legal department, Cllr Yates said the Christmas cards “carried the shield of mayoralty, which infers at least the endorsement, if not the support of the mayor’s office”.

“Given that she is not currently acting as the mayor, can you explain how this is not a flagrant and obvious breach of the rules for our actions in the pre-election period?” he wrote.

But a city council spokesman said the mayor’s cards were designed and printed before the election officially began on November 6.

“The cards were sent by the Mayor’s Office at the usual time,” he said.

And a spokesman for the Brighton and Hove Green Party added Cllr Phillips was “entirely in the clear”.

“ These cards were sent by officials in the mayor’s office without Alexandra’s knowledge,” he said.

“Alexandra voluntarily took the decision to step back from mayoral duties for the duration of the election campaign, in order to avoid any perception of politicising the mayor’s position.

“Having stepped back from the mayoralty, the recipients and the timing of these cards were decided by council officials without any input from Alexandra.

“She was only told about the cards after they had already been sent.”

The spokesman added: “Any queries on timings, recipients or budgets should therefore be directed to the Labour-run council.”

Cllr Phillips finished fourth in Brighton Kemptown in last week’s General Election as Labour’s Lloyd Russell-Moyle retained his seat with a reduced majority.