CAMPAIGNERS say a pair of Green councillors who have faced criticism for time spent in France during the pandemic should resign now rather than wait until the next election.

It comes after husband and wife councillors Tom Druitt and Alex Phillips announced that they will not stand at the next election in 2023.

Members of the public have criticised them for spending the first lockdown at a French holiday home.

The pair then returned to France in December last year, at a time when cases of the Omicron variant were rising.

A spokesperson for the Friends of Brighton and Hove Citizens’ Action Group said: “Once again they put their own trip over the needs of the local residents they had a duty to represent.

“Surely it would be better to resign now?

Cllr Druitt has defended the couple's 2020 trip to France, saying Covid “was still very much a Chinese problem” when they left for the Alps.

Meanwhile, Cllr Phillips has faced criticism for billing the taxpayer nearly £1,500 to pay for childcare during online council meetings.

Cllr Druitt says his family were "perfectly entitled" this money, insisting that none of the claims relate to the period when they were in France.

Cllr Phillips, previously served as Mayor of Brighton and Hove and currently works in the House of Lords for crossbench peer Lord Bird.

She said that she plans to “focus on my work with Lord Bird on the Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill” once he leaves office.

Cllr Phillips thanked residents for “putting your trust in me over these years”.

She also wished the new Green candidates for the ward - Kahina Bouhassane and Tom Pashby - “the very best for the future”.

Cllr 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”.

In a post on Twitter, he said he wanted to "spend more time with my young family”.

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

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