Brighton, Hove and First Past the Post

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We were following the elections in our home city of Brighton over on our new Twitter account @DemsocBTN, which we’ll be using for our local activities alongside the main @Demsoc feed.

As you might have read in the papers, the Green Party won the most seats, and are likely to form a minority cabinet. The AV referendum vote was “No”, but only by a margin of 250 votes in 80,000 cast.

Given the city is (just) against AV, it’s ironic that the First Past the Post had some big effects in the Council elections. As pointed out by Tony Cook on the Brighton & Hove Issues mailing list, the Greens took 33% of the vote, but 23 out of 54 seats on the Council, as their vote was mostly concentrated in the city centre wards. The Conservatives came second in seats (18) but third in vote share (29%), while Labour, competing head to head with Greens in many places, only gathered 13 seats for a 32% vote share.

So Brighton & Hove will have the first Green council in the UK. One of their manifesto commitments (pdf) is extensive devolution of services and budgets to neighbourhood-level decision-making bodies, and we will be keeping an eye on how that goes (as well as offering support as it’s needed).

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Published by Anthony Zacharzewski

Anthony Zacharzewski was one of the founders of Demsoc in 2006. Before starting work for Demsoc in 2010, he was a Whitehall civil servant and a local government officer.