THE city’s youngest ever deputy-mayor-elect has said that she will fundraise for women’s groups and minorities when she becomes mayor.

Councillor Alex Phillips, 32, was nominated without opposition to the post at last week’s full council meeting of Brighton and Hove City Council.

Barring unforeseen circumstances she will become mayor in May 2019, after serving as deputy mayor to Councillor Dee Simson from next May, once current mayor Mo Marsh steps down and her current deputy Cllr Simson assumes the chains of office.

Councillor Phillips, who represents Regency ward for the Green party alongside her husband Councillor Tom Druitt, told The Argus she was honoured and delighted to have been chosen for the role, which is more usually given to a long-serving councillor on the cusp of retirement.

But despite being only 32 and mother to an eight-week old baby, Raphael – who can already be heard in good voice at council meetings – Cllr Phillips is already the second-longest serving Green councillor in the chamber.

She will attend in the region of 500 to 600 public engagements over the course of her term.

She said she was “very pleased” that a prominent position would be filled by a female Green politician, adding: “In our group women haven’t really been in the limelight so much.”

Although she will be the city’s third female mayor in a row, within the Greens former leader Jason Kitcat, current leader Phelim Mac Cafferty, and both previous city mayors are all men.

Each mayor chooses charities to benefit from official backing and in former Green mayor Pete West’s term he expanded the list from the traditional three to more than 25, breaking all records for fundraising.

She said: “I think I’ll do something like Pete. He raised £100,000 so that’s where the bar is.

“I want to focus on women, children and minority groups.

“Not necessarily charities devoted just to that, but for example Brighton Housing Trust has a team which works with woman, so the fundraising will be focused towards those kinds of workstreams.”

Cllr Phillips is currently on maternity leave from her day job at the Terrence Higgins Trust. She previously worked for Caroline Lucas in Brussels during Ms Lucas’s years as an MEP, and taught languages in Croydon.

She became the youngest member of the city in 2009 when at 24 she took a seat in Goldsmid ward from the Conservatives in a by-election.

She sits on the licensing panel and speaks for her Party on the children young people and skills committee.


Councillor Phillips’ ascension to first citizen is not a certainty.

By convention the mayoralty of Brighton and Hove rotates between parties but technically the mayoralty is in the gift of the administration.

The last mayor Pete West is a Green, incumbent Mo Marsh is Labour (although the mayor is technically apolitical), and her deputy Dee Simson, a Tory, is due to be mayor from May.

So it will be the Green’s turn again in May 2019. But between then Cllr Phillips could lose her seat in the council elections in early May 2019.

Or a knife-edge vote could see 2019’s administration need the mayoralty and its casting vote and claim it for itself, as the Conservatives did for several years from 2007.