Leading the city will be an honour and a privilege

WM portrait
Photo credit: The Argus

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.


Labour wins the elections in Brighton and Hove

VictoryI am grateful to voters across Brighton and Hove for electing Labour councillors in large numbers, making us the biggest group on the city council.

Labour candidates won 20,000 more votes than the Conservatives, and as many seats as the Greens won in 2011. We gained 12 seats from the Greens whilst the Conservatives gained just one, so Labour has a clear mandate in terms of seats gained and votes won to lead the city council.

We will lead a Labour council which will implement the sensible policies we put to voters having listened to them on the issues that matter to them: getting our basic refuse, recycling and street cleaning running properly, tackling the issues of housing and poverty, making our city’s economy work for everyone, and getting the city’s transport networks and roads working as they should.

We will ask all councillors of all parties to support these common goals that will benefit our city, and we will work constructively and co-operatively with them. The next elections are four years away. It is time to put political rivalry and advantage to one side and put Brighton and Hove first.

Our city and our residents face enormous challenges under very difficult circumstances, but we will lead with purpose and vision, based on our values of fairness and co-operation, to get the best for everyone in Brighton and Hove.

Footnote: It was an emotional day for me; to be welcomed into the Brighton Centre where I began my working life thirty years ago by someone who worked with me then. To see so many friends and colleagues who have triumphed or been unsuccessful in the elections, to know the immense hardships many in the city will face as a result of an unrestrained majority Conservative government. To be elected to lead the city I have called home all my life, to have an excellent team of new councillors alongside me. I’d like to thank everyone who voted for me again, electing me for a fourth time, and to everyone who contributed in any way to our success in these local elections. It’s a huge honour and a great challenge – I will give it my all.