Labour loses control of Brighton and Hove City Council amid anti-Semitism allegations

22 July 2020, 15:44

File photo: The Royal Pavilion in Brighton
File photo: The Royal Pavilion in Brighton. Picture: PA

By Megan White

Labour has lost control of Brighton & Hove City Council after multiple councillors left the party, two amid allegations of anti-Semitism.

The local party said on Tuesday evening that it was "only right that Labour step aside" after the Green Party became the largest on the council.

The Greens said they are "united in our determination" to see the city through the current challenges.

The change in political control follows the resignation of two members of the council's Labour Group and the suspension of another from the party.

Kate Knight told the council on Monday that she had resigned from the party and the council's Labour Group with immediate effect.

It is understood that "several complaints" have been made to the national Labour Party based "mainly on allegedly anti-Semitic posts" she made on Facebook between 2016 and 2019, the council said.

Fellow city councillor Anne Pissaridou was suspended from the party last week.

A complaint was being made to the national party about two social media posts shared by Ms Pissaridou which are alleged to have had anti-Semitic content.

Late on Monday the council also confirmed that Nichole Brennan had resigned from its Labour Group with immediate effect. No reason for her resignation was given.

The Green Party holds 19 of the seats on Brighton & Hove City Council, with Labour now on 18.

The East Sussex city hosted the Labour Party annual conference in 2019.

Local Labour leader and council leader Nancy Platts said: "As a Labour administration, we should be proud of our achievements since 2015 and the manifesto that we stood on in the local elections.

"More recently we have helped steer the city through an unprecedented public health crisis and focused our efforts on economic recovery, backing our local businesses and supporting our most vulnerable residents, including children, those with disabilities and older people."

A local Labour Party spokesman said: "Labour will embrace opposition and take on the crucial role of standing up for residents and holding the new administration to account from opposition."

Ms Platts has asked officers to prepare a report recommending that the Green Group will form the administration, and the Labour Group will form the Official Opposition.

A local Green Party spokesman said: "Greens are united in our determination to see the city through our many current challenges and will work with all parties in order to get this achieved.

"Helping our city recover from the worst of Covid-19 is the most urgent task."

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