The Green candidates for the city council elections in Brighton and Hove next May have been leaked to the press, and as expected, there is an exodus of experienced and senior Green Party councillors ahead of what they fully expect to be a heavy defeat at the polls.
Following the announcement that Jason Kitcat, the Green Council Leader, would not be standing for re-election along with his wife Cllr Ania Kitcat, half of the Green councillors elected in 2011 now say they will not be on the ballot paper next time.
They include former Council Leader Bill Randall, his former Deputy Amy Kennedy, Chair of Culture Geoffrey Bowden, and Transport lead Ian Davey. Also not seeking another term are Christopher Hawtree, Mike Jones, Sven Rufus and the disgraced Ben Duncan.
It is not unusual for the Green Party to see half of it’s councillors stand down – the same happened in 2011. Rather than long-serving councillors with experience, voters in Green-held wards can expect a revolving door approach to those representing them. Say hello to your new local councillor, but don’t expect them to stick around.
Meanwhile in a move reminiscent of the famous “chicken run” of Tory MPs prior to their 1997 wipeout, Alex Phillips is abandoning the Goldsmid seat she won in a by-election in 2009 for the place vacated by the man she tried to topple in a coup, Jason Kitcat.
Despite listing the same names for multiple wards, the Greens have just 18 candidates for the 54 seats up for election, and only 7 new names to replace the 10 who are walking away. Despite new local Party rules trying to change the woeful gender imbalance in the Green Party, just 6 of the 18 candidates are women. Only one continuing candidate has two full terms on the council behind him (Pete West) and only three have more than one term’s experience.
Tellingly, they have only 5 candidates in Hove and Portslade, and just one in Brighton Kemptown, both areas seemingly abandoned in favour of shoring up the Green vote in Caroline Lucas’s Pavilion seat. If you live in one of the two Tory-held constituencies in the city, you can wave goodbye to the Greens.
In contrast Labour have thirty candidates in place with more selections due in September, and another 10 candidates on the waiting list. Labour will have a mix of new talent and experience, with five returning councillors having more than a decade’s local government experience each and almost 100 years between them.