BRIGHTON and Hove’s newly elected mayor is throwing his efforts into helping the city recover from the coronavirus crisis.

South Portslade Councillor Alan Robins assumed the role at the annual council meeting on Thursday.

Unusually, he will hold the position for two years “due to the current impact of coronavirus on mayoral duties”, Brighton and Hove City Council said.

But, despite the UK lockdown casting limitations over the city, the Labour councillor plans to dive straight into action in his new role.

He said: “My aim for this year is to do my utmost to support the recovery process of our city. I imagine that this will be a step-by-step process likely to take some time. I am therefore grateful that it is proposed that my term as mayor of Brighton and Hove, and indeed Portslade, will extend to 2021/2022.

“This is going to be very different from other mayoral years as we are in the middle of a pandemic, battling the Covid-19 crisis. My first engagement on May 17 is an Iftar meal to end the daily Ramadan fast, with the Dialogue Society via Zoom.

“The virus is a challenge to everyone and I am touched by the way communities are working together in creative ways to keep everyone’s spirits up.”

Conservative Rottingdean Coastal Councillor Mary Mears has been elected to the post of deputy mayor, which she will hold until May 2021.

Cllr Robins will be supported by his partner Val Crawley, who has taken the role of mayoral consort.

He replaces Green Regency Councillor Alexandra Phillips, who took part in more than 350 engagements during her year at the helm. As mayor, Cllr Phillips offered her support to 20 charities

Fellow Green councillor Sue Shanks, who sits in the St Peter’s and North Laine ward, congratulated her colleague on her work during her time in the role.

She said: “Alex’s year as mayor has been a whirlwind. I know she has really enjoyed meeting all the residents groups and attending a large number of events as do all mayors.

“We have benefited from a fresh approach – including poetry in the chamber.

“Alex has demonstrated a very disciplined approach to chairing council, whether from the town hall mayoral chair or her front room.”

In the annual mayoral report, Cllr Phillips thanked her successor “for his tremendous support and flexibility throughout the year”.

She also expressed her gratitude to Green Councillor Tom Druitt for his support as her consort.

She thanked Councillors Dee Simson, Pete West, Carol Theobald and Garry Peltzer Dunn “for stepping in to cover engagements during the general election”.

Cllr Phillips contested the Brighton Kemptown seat, which was won by Lloyd Russell-Moyle of the Labour Party, in last year’s General Election.