At the last full council meeting local resident James Noble spoke for many in our city when he put the following question to the meeting.

He said: “Nuclear weapons are not in the council’s mandate, competency or power, therefore allowing such debates and wasting the council’s time makes a large group of residents view it as a joke.

“I therefore ask his worship the mayor, should such debates be allowed in future and was it correct for this one to proceed in the first place? I know in the constitution, under the rules and procedures, it says that every motion shall be relevant to a matter in relation to which the council has power.”

Unfortunately, James Noble’s question fell on deaf ears as Labour and the Greens proceeded to discuss nuclear weapons for the second time in three meetings, triggering another lengthy vote on the matter.

If you are interested, after the best part of an hour of the council’s time, Brighton and Hove City Council now has a policy proposing the decommissioning of the UK’s Trident Nuclear Weapons defence system elimination of all British nuclear weapons and facilities.

This question hit the nail on the head for many across the city who are frustrated with a council that will happily talk about nuclear weapons but will not, for example, debate petitions about local issues that matter to residents such as building on the urban fringe.

The fact nuclear weapons has been debated and voted on twice in three meetings is of course ridiculous. Our council is elected to manage a near £1 billion city budget on behalf of residents – not be some sort of debating club for matters it has no control over.

But nuclear weapons is just the tip of the iceberg for this council.

Statistics show that since the May 2019 local council elections, the Labour and Green groups which form the council’s administration and opposition have spent over 76 per cent of their allotted time at full council meetings for debating notices of motion discussing international and national matters.

Topics include nuclear weapons (twice); making misogyny a national hate crime, the national voting system, refugees in the middle east; UN climate change policy and trade union legislation to name a few. These may be important topics for many, but none relate to our elected council’s functions.

Illustrating this point, through their motions Labour and the Greens have asked the council chief executive officer to write over 32 letters to government ministers. That should be the clue – these matters are for MPs to raise in the House of Commons, not city councillors.

Almost 11 hours of time has now been lost across 30 notices of motion including seven Joint Labour Greens items.

These figures go some way to explain why out city is failing in so many basic areas.

These debates have taken place during two years where Labour and the Greens put council tax up by the maximum amount and oversaw costly policy failures across multiple council services: including home to school transport, domestic violence and housing repairs; also leaving schools with a ten-year debt because of a council blunder.

Instead of spending time focusing on improving services and keeping council tax down, our council has instead been discussing issues over which it has no control.

This isn’t a voluntary job – Labour and Greens are jointly claiming somewhere approaching £2.7 million over four years in allowances, controversially to be both the city’s administration and opposition at the same time.

For that level of pay, we should expect a professional attitude from our elected councillors – at the very least a focus on the functions of the city from the administration (Greens) and opposition (Labour) of the day.

At the last council meeting we tried to make this point to Labour and the Greens in a different way.

We amended Labour and Greens’ latest batch of national issue motions that called on the chief executive to write more letters to the government to instead “write to the city’s three MPs”. We hoped by making this point that they would get it and think about what a council is supposed to do and what MPs are supposed to do.

They didn’t get it. They just aren’t listening. Labour and Greens’ Councillors are hopelessly confused about the job they have been elected and paid to do and the city is suffering.

We have two by-elections coming up in the city in May and it is a good opportunity for residents to send a message to Labour and the Greens that this is not good enough.