Today I attended my fourth annual meeting of Brighton and Hove City Council since being elected to represent the Queen’s Park ward of the city.
And while much of the meeting is really about the pomp and ceremony of the mayoral office – nothing political takes place at all (well, almost nothing: Ted Kemble was sacked as cabinet member for major projects and former council leader Brian Oxley was brought back into the Tory leadership team) – it was interesting to chat to some fellow councillors about the impact of the national Lib-Tory government on the future of the council.
Specifically, with half the parliamentary Lib-Dem party now in the Tory government, and therefore accepting the doctrine of collective responsibility (that is, they promise not to criticise the Tories in public) it seems that the Lib-Dems and the Conservative parties have, effectively merged.
So what about the two Lib Dems on Brighton and Hove Council? Will either of them be joining the Mears administration? Will they be invited to attend Tory ‘whip’ meetings? Or will they walk away from the party, perhaps seeking membership of the Greens? How would the Green group of councillors react if they did? Of course, we can’t assume they’ll act in unison on this – maybe they’ll break in different directions?
Watch this space. If there are any developments – I’ll report them as soon as I can. And if any Lib-Dem members (I guess there must be some left) – or even either of their two remaining councillors – want to comment here, they’d be most welcome!