By Helen Tilton, Associate
As we recently reported here, some of the most exciting outcomes of the local elections in the South West occurred right in the centre of the region in the city of Bristol, where Labour has been under clear pressure from an ongoing swell of support for the Greens who made significant gains in central and north Bristol. This has resulted in the political groups being balanced as follows:
The Cabinet roles have now been announced, with Labour filling all positions, and with Mayor Marvin Rees personally taking responsibility for Transport, and Planning and City Design. The new leader of the Greens, Cllr Paula O’Rourke, has made her disappointment regarding the lack of balanced representation clear, but it seems that the sweetener is to be that the Greens are instead to take Labour’s share of committee chair roles, which they intend to use to improve scrutiny of policy and decision making.
Following discussion with the Party Group Whips, the following committee sizes have been proposed. As far as is reasonably practical, this is reflective of the aggregate entitlement of the political groups to committee seats:
The council committees to which political balance applies, include the planning committee. The revised total of nine councillors rather than twelve could make debate more intense, especially with the casting vote of the Chair no longer resting with Labour members. At the time of writing, Development Control Committee A is to see Conservative councillor, Cllr Richard Eddy, stepping up to Chair, and the previous Chair, Labour’s Cllr Don Alexander, becoming Vice Chair. The newly appointed Green councillor for central ward, Cllr Ani Stafford-Townsend, will become Chair of Development Control Committee B, with Cllr Chris Windows (Conservative) as Vice-Chair.