Green candidates and councillors had not anticipated the party’s monumental defeat in the city’s local election, a party activist has revealed.

A member of the party, who wanted to remain anonymous, said he was “pretty devastated” by the result, which saw the Greens lose more than half their councillors.

The party was reduced to just seven seats on Brighton and Hove City Council, down from 20 before the election.

“We didn’t really see it coming,” the Green activist said. 

“Our data looked solid across the city and we had numbers compared to 2019 but ended up with something closer to 2015.”

In 2019, the Green Party had won the most votes in the city and 19 council seats but in 2015 the party was pushed into third behind Labour and the Conservatives with just 11 councillors.

The activist said the party had been expecting to hold on to many of its seats following positive conversations on the doorstep with residents.


He said: “We’ve never worked as hard as this election so this was definitely a shock.

“The conversations we were having were good and we reached more people than ever. Whether people weren’t telling us the truth or someone went round and spoke to them after we did, I don’t know.”

He said although he was surprised by the scale of the Green Party’s loss, he sensed on election day that the party would not do well.

“A few people told us they had voted Labour instead but not in the margins we eventually saw,” he said.

“I’m angry we didn’t see it coming.”

The Argus: The Green Party stood 54 candidates across the city - seven were electedThe Green Party stood 54 candidates across the city - seven were elected (Image: Brighton and Hove Green Party)

The Green Party took control of the council in July 2020 after a number of councillors were suspended from the Labour group over claims of anti-semitism.

The activist claimed it was a mistake for the Greens to go into administration and claimed the party “fell into a trap” and was “set up to fail”.

“It was a poisoned chalice with all the challenges coming forth,” he said.

“Labour made the calculated move to kick out the people they needed to, some rightly so, and then spent three years attacking us for some of the s**t they left behind.”

The Argus:

On Friday Labour secured its first majority council in Brighton and Hove for two decades after winning 38 seats on the city council, making gains from both the Conservatives and the Greens.

Among those to lose their seats were the entire leadership team of the Green group, with council leader Phelim Mac Cafferty and deputy leader Hannah Allbrooke voted out in Brunswick and Adelaide, as well as deputy leader Siriol Hugh-Jones, who was ousted in Hollingdean and Fiveways.

New Labour council leader Bella Sankey met Labour Party leader Keir Starmer this week in London to discuss how their councillors will work to address the cost-of-living crisis for people in Brighton and Hove.

The city’s councillors will meet for the first time since the election on May 25.