Leading the city council in Brighton and Hove will be an honour and a privilege, for each and every day that I am lucky enough to hold the job.
Growing up in Hove I could never have dreamed that one day I’d reach this point, and when I began my working life at the Brighton Centre thirty years ago, I never thought that one day I’d be at an election count in the same hall watching the votes mount up for me and for my colleagues as they did last week. I’m so grateful to the people that gave us their support and for giving me this opportunity; I will do my very best for the place I have called home all my life.
We are now as far away from elections as we will ever be. If I am tired of the political squabbling and point-scoring then you must be far more fed up. I hope that whilst we must hold the government to account when it does things that harm our city or our residents, we can put the politics aside and work together to get the best for Brighton and Hove. We’ve many huge challenges ahead that we all need to work on together.
A measure of our success in four years won’t be how well or how badly Labour, the Greens or the Conservatives do at the next elections, but how much our basic services like refuse and recycling have improved, how many people have moved into good homes and better paid jobs, how many children we can lift out of poverty, how well our older people are cared for and how prosperous and vibrant our economy is.
I am a progressive and pragmatic politician with an inclusive vision for our great city. I’ll work with our city’s three MPs from all three political parties on the city council to secure the best deal for you. I will work with and for the city’s many diverse communities, small businesses, and those who are excluded. Whoever you voted for, if anyone, and whichever part of the city you live in, we will work for you.
We won’t always agree and we won’t always get it right, but we’ll put in the hours, try our hardest and when we ask for your help we hope you will pitch in. Despite everything, we can be optimistic about the future as well as valuing our past. Our architecture and our heritage is what made Brighton great, now we must ensure we leave something even better for those who inherit it.
This is the place where my parents and grandparents grew up; I care about it because it is my home as it is yours, whether you chose it or it chose you. You might not think politics matters, but our city and what happens to it matters. Thank you for voting for change, for voting to get our city council back on track. Thank you for giving us the chance to serve Brighton and Hove.