TWO Green councillors have announced they will stand down at the next election.

Husband and wife representatives Tom Druitt and Alex Phillips, who represent Regency ward in Brighton, will step down as councillors on Brighton and Hove City Council at the next election in 2023.

The pair had faced questions in reports by The Argus about claims for childcare expenses and time they have spent in France since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

Cllr Phillips has served as a councillor since a by-election in 2009, with Cllr Druitt elected to the council in 2015.

Cllr Phillips, who currently works in the House of Lords for crossbench peer Lord Bird, also served as mayor of Brighton and Hove in 2019-20 and as a member of the European Parliament.

She said she has chosen not to re-stand to "focus on my work with Lord Bird on the Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill".

"As a councillor, I have been honoured to serve residents in two wards, Goldsmid and Regency, and am most proud of working with colleagues to successfully turn the old Hove police station into a much-needed primary school, working with residents to close a pub which had become an anti-social behaviour hotspot (and turn it into much-needed housing) and becoming the youngest ever mayor of our wonderful city," she said.

Cllr Phillips also thanked residents for "putting your trust in me over these years" and wished the new Green candidates for the ward "the very best for the future".

Cllr Tom Druitt, who also serves as chief executive of The Big Lemon bus company, said it had been a "huge privilege to serve the residents of Regency ward".

He said: "It's been a rewarding experience, especially helping residents navigate the system and getting action on the issues most important to them.

"Some of the highlights have been supporting residents dealing with anti-social behaviour issues in local green spaces, working with residents to stop Temple Street being used as a dangerous rat run, working with colleagues to get a winter night shelter set up for rough sleepers and supporting local businesses with a range of issues to help them stay in business – before, during and after the Covid-19 lockdowns."

Cllr Druitt said that the two Green candidates who will fight for the ward at the next council election in 2023 - Kahina Bouhassane and Tom Pashby - are "fantastic candidates with strong Green values with lots of energy".

"I wish them the very best of luck with the election - residents will certainly be in good hands," he said.

Their announcement comes after Cllr Druitt said it was "not for other people to judge" expenses claims made by his wife totalling nearly £1,500 to pay for childcare during online council meetings during the pandemic.

Cllr Druitt told The Argus last year that his family were "perfectly entitled" to receive expenses, and said the use of the dependent carer's allowance has "nothing to do with your financial circumstances".

The couple also faced criticism for spending four months at a French holiday home while Brighton and Hove battled Covid. Cllr Druitt defended the trip and said they did not expect their trip to be affected as "it was still very much a Chinese problem" when they left for the Alps in March 2020.

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