Labour leadership candidates make their bid to party members in Brighton and Hove

Hundreds of members of Brighton and Hove Labour Party gathered on Saturday (29 February) to question the Labour leadership and deputy leadership candidates about their vision and the policies at the Grand Hotel, Brighton.

Three MPs remain in the race for the Labour leadership: Sir Keir Starmer (who does not use his title), Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy. They all talked about the need for unity to enable the Labour Party to build a better, fairer and more equal society.

Mr Starmer said: “We need to bring our party together. We lost the trust from the British people as a party of a change (at the last general election.) Mr Johnson is dangerous; he is no clown. We need to be relentlessly focused on winning the next general election.”

Ms Nandy, who represents a constituency in the North of England in Wigan, said nurses and ex-miners voted for the Conservatives, having returned Labour MPs for one hundred years. She blames unemployment, high house prices, debt and air pollution and said: “People need to believe in politics that will transform their lives again.”

Mrs Long-Bailey highlighted how the Labour Party rebuilt Britain after the second world war and introduced the NHS. She said we need to build council housing now and stop privatisation. Labour’s ‘guarantee’ she said if she wins the Labour leadership, is that “your children’s lives will be better than yours.”

Mr Starmer said: “We need to win back the trust of the public. People in their hearts know inequality has gone too far.”

Labour leadership hustings

Mrs Long-Bailey said the essence of human nature is a decent standard of life and the green industrial strategy. She said: “These are not radical policies. They are good enough for our European neighbours and they’re good enough for our country… We must empower our members to be our cheerleaders in our communities. The Labour Party is about realising aspirations wherever you’re from.”

Mr Starmer and his London constituency voted remain but after the referendum, he spent a lot of time with leave voters to understand their point of view. He said people told him they wanted better infrastructure and transport, jobs that had dignity and decisions made closer to home. He said: “It’s a compelling story about change that, I think, takes us a long way forwards.”

All the candidates were concerned about press freedom and smears against the Labour Party. Mr Starmer thought the press needed to diversify because independent journalism is under attack. He said there is a high risk that Britain will follow the American model which will have a negative impact for Labour at the next general election. Ms Nandy thought the BBC should be mutualised to make it more accountable.

While Labour leadership candidates agreed that the Labour Party will not be able to win an outright majority in a general election without winning seats in Scotland, Ms Nandy argued most strongly to keep the union together. She said: “The SNP fought a ‘once in a generation’ referendum and we need to hold them to that. We want to see a party that stands up for working people. We need to fight for the UK. People in Scotland need far more power far closer to home.”

Mrs Long-Bailey said she would campaign vigorously against Scottish independence but couldn’t guarantee the outcome. Mr Starmer said he would work with Scottish Labour and not impose policies from Westminster. He thought the campaign should be about social justice, not constitutional arguments and independence underpinned by radical devolution and a federal system.

Candidates also discussed the economic settlement as a means of explaining inequality in our very wealthy society including homelessness and waiting times for child mental health assessments. Mr Starmer said: “We need to have the courage to say our economic model is busted, it’s not delivering and we need to change it for a different economic model.”

However, it was Ms Nandy who came up with a solution. She said: “We may not be in power but we should never believe we are powerless. Do not sign trade deals with countries who don’t sign up to the Paris agreement (about climate change.)

Mrs Long-Bailey summed up discussion at the hustings by saying for many people pay is too low, bills are too high, housing is too expensive and homelessness is getting worse. She said: “The solution is not to retreat and despair. It’s to offer hope: Aspirational socialism, an industrial revolution… We forge our path to power not by weakening our aspirations but by realising them.”

Brighton Kemptown and Brighton Pavilion endorsed Rebecca Long-Bailey as their Labour leadership candidate. Hove and Portslade chose Keir Starmer.

After lunch there was a hustings of the deputy leadership candidates: Angela Rayner, Dawn Butler, Rosena Allin-Khan, Richard Burgon and Ian Murray who is the only Scottish MP sitting in Westminster since last December’s general election. Here is just a taster of what they said.

Deputy Labour leadership hustings

Mrs Rayner said Labour needs to talk about everyday socialism, promote peace not war, save the planet from climate change and she said: “We don’t have to pander to the racists to win in Northern seats.”

When asked who was her most inspirational figure, Mrs Butler said her late father who worked on the railways. He could not be an official trade union steward because he was coloured. She said her father told her, ‘never walk on the other side of the road.’ She said: “I am exhausted when I stand up for my own rights and empowered when I stand up for other people’s rights.”

Mr Burgon promised as deputy leader to be campaigner in chief and organiser in chief. He said there would be no return to immigration controls, Tory austerity, strikes, Labour would be democratic, member-led, internationalist and anti-war. Mr Burgon made a peace pledge.

Mr Murray said the Labour Party is an internationalist party. He said: “Let’s not throw our principles away. Scots don’t want another referendum. Why should we facilitate the means if we don’t agree with the ends like Mr Cameron did when he called for the EU referendum?”

Dr Allin-Khan said Scots are divided and agreed with Mr Murray that Scotland should remain part of the UK and make the case for people in Scotland to vote Labour.

Mrs Butler won the nomination for deputy leader from Brighton Pavilion and Hove and Portslade constituencies and Dr Allin-Khan was nominated by Brighton Kemptown.

This article was first published in Brighton and Hove News.

Brighton and Hove Labour leadership and deputy nominations show Labour is undecided

In Hove and Portslade Keir Starmer MP was nominated as leadership candidate after two rounds of voting and Ms Butler was elected deputy leader after four rounds of voting in the Labour leader and deputy nominations.

Hove MP Peter Kyle supported Jess Phillips and has not yet said publicly whom he now supports. Former Labour Councillor Emma Daniel organised the meeting with Mr Starmer.

Penny Gilbey, who was Labour Councillor for North Portslade until she retired last year after the May elections said: “All the candidates are excellent candidates but whoever is elected as leader, it is important for the party to unite behind him or her.”

Hove and Portslade Labour Party leadership and deputy nominations in brief

Hove and Portslade CLP nominated Mr Starmer as their Leadership candidate and Mrs Rayner as Deputy Leadership candidate. Carol Sewell was nominated as NEC BAME representative.

Third round of voting

Candidate Swing Result
Rebecca Long Bailey +9 70
Keir Starmer +20 56

Third round of voting

Candidate Swing Result
Rebecca Long Bailey +9 70
Keir Starmer +20 56

Johanna Baxter and Gurinder Singh Josan were nominated as National Executive Committee Constituency Labour Party representatives.

Brighton Kemptown Labour leadership and deputy nominations in brief

Rebecca Long Bailey MP is the clear winner for the Brighton Pavilion nomination. She got 36 more votes than her nearest rival, Sir Kier Starmer MP yesterday (Saturday 09 February, 2020.)

In Brighton Kemptown it took three rounds of voting for Ms Long Bailey to win although she had the endorsement of Brighton Kemptown’s Labour MP, Lloyd Russell-Moyle.

Third round of voting – Brighton Kemptown CLP

Candidate Swing Result
Rebecca Long Bailey +9 70
Keir Starmer +20 56

Mrs Long Bailey was nominated as Brighton Kemptown’s leadership candidate after three rounds of voting. She beat Mr Starmer by 14 votes although the swing to Mr Starmer in the third round of voting was 20 percent compared with nine percent to Mrs Long Bailey.

Dr Allin-Khan, who may like to be known simply as Doctor Khan, beat her closest rival, Richard Burgon by 57 votes because she came to the meeting in person to canvass support. There was only one round of voting for the deputy leadership candidates in Brighton Kemptown CLP.

Only Labour members who attended the three constituency Labour party meetings (CLPs) could vote.

Brighton Pavilion Labour Party leadership and deputy nominations in brief

Less than seven percent of the Brighton Pavilion Labour membership voted and 190 votes were cast. Labour members were not allowed to vote by post or by proxy. They had to vote in person at the member only Labour Party meeting.

Mrs Long Bailey is the Brighton Pavilion nomination for Labour leader. She won in a single round of voting by 36 votes which is 19 percent more than her closest rival, Mr Starmer MP.

For the deputy leadership in Brighton Pavilion, voting was less straightforward. However, when votes from other candidates were transferred to Dr Khan and Dawn Butler MP, Ms Butler was the clear winner with a majority of 25 votes.

Third round of voting

Candidate Swing Result
Rebecca Long Bailey +9 70
Keir Starmer +20 56

The devil is in the detail

Here is a full breakdown of the results:

Brighton Kemptown CLP Labour leadership and deputy nominations

First round of voting

Lisa Nandy 16

Emily Thornberry 32

Keir Starmer 30

Rebecca Long Bailey 54

No vote 1

Second round of voting

Candidate Swing Result
Emily Thornberry +2 34
Rebecca Long Bailey +7 61
Keir Starmer +6 36
No further vote +1 2

Third round of voting

Candidate Swing Result
Rebecca Long Bailey +9 70
Keir Starmer +20 56

Deputy Leadership

Rosena Allin Khan 77

Richard Burgon 20

Dawn Butler 15

Angela Rayner 17

Ian Murray 2

No vote 2

Brighton Pavilion CLP Labour leadership and deputy nominations

One round of voting

Rebecca Long Bailey 99

Kier Starmer 63

Lisa Nandy 22

Emily Thornberry 5

Deputy leadership

Dr Allin-Khan Richard Burgon Dawn Butler Ian Murray Angela Rayner
First round of voting 47 43 54 8 38
Second round 50 43 54 Eliminated 42
Third round 69 49 67 0 Eliminated
Fourth round 75 Eliminated 100 0 0
Result Eliminated NOMINATED

There will be a Labour Party hustings in Brighton on Saturday 29 February.

 Hove and Portslade CLP Labour Leadership and Deputy nominations

Keir Starmer was nominated as Leadership candidate, Angela Rayner was nominated as Deputy Leadership candidate. Carol Sewell was nominated as NEC BAME representative.

Johanna Baxter and Gurinder Singh Josan were nominated as NEC Constituency Labour Party representatives.

Labour Leadership Candidate

Rebecca Long Bailey Lisa Nandy Keir Starmer Emily Thornberry Spoilt ballot papers
Round 1 69 62 108 4
Second preference 14 Eliminated 51 Eliminated 1
Round 2 83 0 159 0 1
NOMINATED Eliminated

Labour Deputy Leadership Candidate

Dr Allin-Khan Richard Burgon Dawn Butler Ian Murray Angela Rayner Spoilt
Round 1 39 24 39 66 72 3
Second preference 0 Eliminated 17 1 5 1
Round 2 39 0 56 67 77 4
Third preference Eliminated 0 6 23 10 0
Round 3 0 0 62 90 87 4
Fourth preference 0 0 Eliminated 5 44 13
Round 4 0 0 0 95 131 17
Eliminated NOMINATED

243 members attended the Hove and Portslade Constituency Labour Party meeting and Labour members can only vote if they attend in person.

An edited version of this article has been published today by Brighton and Hove News.

Coronavirus briefing by Brighton and Hove director of public health

Green Councillor for Brunswick and Adelaide ward, Phelim MacCafferty released a public health briefing about the coronavirus to councillors this afternoon. He said: “Last night Rob Persey who is the council’s executive director for health and adult social care briefed Councillors. I can raise queries you may have about the virus with Rob and with other council officials.”


The 2019 coronavirus called Covid-19 by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has been spreading since it was first reported in December 2019. Symptoms include fever and respiratory symptoms including coughing and shortness of breath.

Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease. Standard advice to prevent the spread of infection is recommended, including maintaining good hand, respiratory and personal hygiene.

On Friday 7 February it was confirmed that the UK’s third positive case for 2019 Novel Coronavirus was a resident of Hove. Since then a total of five cases have been confirmed in the city.

Details of positive cases and their location can only be confirmed by the Chief Medical Officer of England.

Latest update on the coronavirus

On Monday 10 February the latest cases were confirmed by the Chief Medical Officer in the daily updates. and we added the latest information to the council website.

This means that five out of the eight current confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the UK were reported in Brighton & Hove. All the Brighton & Hove cases are adults.

The new cases are known contacts of a previously confirmed UK case. The virus was passed on in France.

The latest patients from our city have been transferred to specialist NHS centres, and healthcare workers are using robust infection control measures to prevent any possible further spread of the virus.

Addressing the situation

The NHS and Public Health England are extremely well prepared to manage these cases and treat them. The organisations are working quickly to identify any further contacts the patient has had.

This latest patient followed Public Health advice by self-isolating rather than going to A&E. For the latest advice visit

The local NHS and Brighton & Hove City Council are working closely with Public Health England (PHE) to manage the situation and to ensure everyone remain as safe as possible, using robust infection control measures to prevent any possible further spread of the coronavirus.

Some Brighton & Hove residents have been told to “self-isolate”, which means stay at home and not have contact with other people. They are being asked to take the same precautions that everyone would to avoid other people if suffering from a heavy cold or the winter flu – stay at home and not go to work or school/college.

During this time they will be supported by PHE, who are monitoring them and will undertake further testing if they show any symptoms of the virus, and provide any further care needed.

Health advice:

If you are feeling unwell and have not been contacted by Public Health England, then there is no need for concern.

You should continue to treat your symptoms as usual for seasonal flu or a common cold. If you feel unwell and do not know what you should do, then call NHS 111.


Everyone is being reminded to follow Public Health England advice to:

  • Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel. Effective sanitiser gel should have a 60% alcohol content or higher.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel (see above) if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.

Information on individual cases:

The government’s Chief Medical Officer makes the official announcements about new cases of coronavirus and what details can be shared about individual patients.

Public Health England is the lead on providing health advice and actions.

Both the Chief Medical Officer and Public Health England have made it clear that clinical guidance and medical confidentiality comes first. They will decide when it is possible to release information.

While we have been waiting for official announcements, organisations locally are working round the clock to put measures in place to manage the situation and share as much information as possible.

The city council is pressing for information to be shared quickly to reassure the public of all that is happening behind the scenes. We have also asked for more flexibility on making local announcements to clarify the situation.

The Chief Medical Officer remains the only source for confirming updates on coronavirus. The council can only share information about individual patients after details are officially announced by the Chief Medical Officer.

School closures

Public Health England and the office of the Chief Medical Officer are clear in their advice that schools do not need to close. Headteachers with any concerns have been advised to speak with Public Health England if they have any specific worries.

The council’s school’s team is in regular contact with headteachers to discuss issues at individual schools. There is a high level of concern at schools and headteachers are being kept up to date.

You can collect relevant posters for you and resident groups from Mr Mac Cafferty at Hove Town Hall.

Where can I find more information?

Hate incidents
Hate incidents either relating to the coronavirus or about separate matters can be reported to the Community Safety Team at Brighton & Hove City Council by:

Hate incidents can also be reported to Sussex Police – go to  for details or call 101 (999 in an emergency).

Some of the information in this article has been supplied by Sanctuary-on-Sea.

Brighton Pavilion and Brighton Kemptown Labour Parties endorse Rebecca Long Bailey

Rebecca Long Bailey MP is the clear winner for the Brighton Pavilion nomination. She got 36 more votes than her nearest rival, Sir Kier Starmer MP yesterday (Saturday 09 February, 2020.) In Brighton Kemptown it took three rounds of voting for Ms Long Bailey to win although she had the endorsement of Brighton Kemptown’s Labour MP, Lloyd Russell-Moyle.

Brighton Pavilion nominated Dawn Butler MP who beat Rosena Allin-Khan by 25 votes. Dr Khan attended the Brighton Kemptown hustings in person and won with a clear majority of 23 votes.

Lloyd Russell-Moyle who is Brighton Kemptown’s MP backed Rebecca Long Bailey and Angela Rayner. He said: “Rebecca will professionalise the operation, we have lost four elections, under Gordon Brown, Ed Miliband as well as two under Jeremy Corbyn.

“We need to be comfortable with the Labour Party’s history. Angie and Becky will do that very well. They will not be shy about celebrating the last labour government. In 2017 we got the biggest share of the vote and then we saw the magic wear off. But I will say all candidates will be very good. Everyone should be good.

“Rebecca Long Bailey pioneered our most popular policy, the green industrial strategy, she understands working class voices, she knows we have bridges to build, she’s loyal to Jeremy Corbyn and she was not involved in bullying.

Lloyd Russell-Moyle

“Rebecca is someone who understands the need for change.

“Whoever wins I’ll be incredibly proud of the Labour Party and our values.”

“Angela Rayner is a perfect bridge, she’s not taking policy positions, she’s a wing-woman. She wishes to serve with Rebecca. Rebecca and Angie wish to serve together. Angela benefited from Sure Start herself. She understands who we need to reach out to.

“I don’t know what Brighton Kemptown will do. I will host a joint rally very soon here in Brighton and Hove for Rebecca Long-Bailey and Angela Rayner.” Full details to follow.

Brighton Kemptown constituency Labour Party results

Full results of the constituency labour party (CLP) vote are as follows:

First round of voting

Lisa Nandy 16

Emily Thornberry 32

Keir Starmer 30

Rebecca Long Bailey 54

No vote 1

Second round of voting

Candidate Swing Result
Emily Thornberry +2 34
Rebecca Long Bailey +7 61
Keir Starmer +6 36
No further vote +1 2

Third round of voting

Candidate Swing Result
Rebecca Long Bailey +9 70
Keir Starmer +20 56

Deputy Leadership

Rosena Allin Khan 77

Richard Burgon 20

Dawn Butler 15

Angela Rayner 17

Ian Murray 2

No vote 2

Brighton Pavilion Constituency Labour Party nominations for leader and deputy

Less than seven percent of the Brighton Pavilion Labour membership voted and 189 votes were cast. Labour members were not allowed to vote by post or by proxy. They had to vote in person at the member only Labour Party meeting.

One round of voting

Rebecca Long Bailey 99

Kier Starmer 63

Lisa Nandy 22

Emily Thornberry 5

Deputy leadership

Candidate First round of voting Second round: Ian Murry eliminated Third round: Angela Rayner eliminated Fourth round: Richard Burgon eliminated
Rosena Allin-Khan 47 50 69 75
Richard Burgon 43 43 49
Dawn Butler 54 54 67 100
Ian Murray 8
Angela Rayner 38 42

For the deputy leadership in Brighton Pavilion, voting was less straightforward. However, when votes from other candidates were transferred to Dr Khan and Dawn Butler, Mrs Butler was the clear winner with a majority of 25 votes.

I very much look forward to hearing all the candidates speak in Brighton on Saturday 29 February at the Labour leadership hustings. I hope it will be a public meeting.

Hove and Portslade Constituency Labour Party Leadership and Deputy Leadership nominations

Keir Starmer nominated as Leader

Angela Rayner nominated as Deputy Leader

Carol Sewell nominated as NEC BAME representative.

Johanna Baxter and Gurinder Singh Josan nominated as NEC Constituency Labour Party representatives.

There was 243 members at the Hove and Portslade Labour Party meeting.

Breakdown to follow.

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Valentine’s day is the first day of reckoning for Labour’s rising stars

Keir Starmer for leader – Hove and Portslade Labour Party hustings, 04.02.20

Keir Starmer addressed several hundred Labour members from across Brighton and Hove at All Saints Church, Hove.

“I have real enthusiasm to have a say on what happens next. We have 580,000 members which is our highest ever membership and we are the biggest political party in Europe.

Mr Starmer said the general election was devastating, devastating for the very brilliant Labour MPs that Labour lost, brilliant candidates, and even more importantly devastating for those people who desperately needed change. He said: “Now they are not going to get the change we all desperately needed.”

He spoke of the electoral challenges faced by Labour across the United Kingdom. He mentioned the ‘red wall’ in the north, known as Labour’s heartland of safe seats.

When describing the scale of the problem, Mr Starmer said: “If all we do is win back the seats we’ve lost, we’ll lose again. We’ve got to win in Scotland. In Scotland we have one MP. We should have been returning 27-30 MPs, we only returned one.” Labour has the same problem in Wales because of the nationalists. He also said you can draw a line from South West from Bristol where Labour needs to build support.

“We have lost four elections in a row. If we lose the next one in 2024, a whole generation will have been let down and not have the protection of a Labour government,” Mr Starmer said.

Labour’s frontrunner said health inequality was a huge issue and that there was a 10 to 15 year difference in life expectancy between his St Pancras and Holborn constituency and the one next door, I think in Hampstead and Kilburn, also in the London Borough of Camden. Here you can see how London voted in the 2019 general election.

Mr Starmer said he thinks people outside London feel: ‘I can’t affect change near me’ and he criticised brutal cuts to our public services. He said: “Our public services are on their knees, the health service is grossly underfunded. My wife works in the health service, teams are demoralised. They have more to do than they can possibly cope with. Social care. Mental health. Homelessness. The list is so long.”

“However, we feel, we’ve got to pick ourselves up. We need to unify as a party.

“All the time we are fighting each other, we are not fighting the Tories. With 580,000 members we have dedication, commitment and energy. It doesn’t mean everyone agreeing with each other. It means tolerant respectful decision-making.”

“Unity needs to come first and foremost from the leader of the Labour Party. We have to unite. We have to be a really effective leader.”

Kier Starmer

Mr Starmer said he had already served under three Conservative Prime Ministers. First there was David Cameron who couldn’t get his party in order and then abdicated all responsibility.

Second, there was Theresa MP who had a complete inability to lead her party.

Now, he said, we have Boris Johnson as Prime Minister: “It’s offensive. He has no moral compass. There’s little lies, then there’s big lies. About tariff free trade. He negotiated that exit deal with the EU. The document in front of him said there would be checks in the Irish Sea. Boris stood up at the despatch box and he said there will be no tariffs in the Irish Sea.

Mr Starmer is concerned that every MP who broke the Conservative Party whip has been replaced with a more right-wing candidate.

He criticised the government because they removed protection for unaccompanied children, some living as close as Calais in the middle of winter with no electricity and heating at night.

Mr Starmer said: “The only difference between my children and the children in Calais is where they were born.”

He predicted that as Prime Minister, Boris Johnson would attack Trade unions and restrict the right for collective action. He said: “We’ve got to take him on at the despatch box. He doesn’t like scrutiny. He barely turns up these days. That’s why he wouldn’t do the Andrew Neil interview.”

Mr Starmer said: “We need to win the argument and demonstrate that we are taking ground. Opposition is losing. You are shadowing the person who is making the decisions. I came into politics to change lives. You don’t deliver that in opposition.

“We’re in Parliament, we vote and we lose. Since we’ve been back we’ve lost every vote by 100 so we’ve got to win that election and we’ve got to press forward to do it.

“What’s happened in the last five years, we don’t walk away from public ownership etc. but you need to build focusing relentlessly on the future.

“You’re not going to deal with inequality by being timid. We know the founding principles. We stand up for the vulnerable. The free market model is busted, you wouldn’t have this level of inequality if the free market model worked. You need a moral compass. The Green new deal has to be hard wired into everything you do. If it’s bad for the environment it’s bad for the economy.

“Power needs to be closer to people. We need bottom up politics, in a town or city not in Westminster. It’s a very socialist argument.

Labour Party“The Labour Party needs to be much more supportive of our local councillors. We need to be brave enough to say we are a party that is internationalist, we need to have solidarity across borders and our values proudly on show. We know the principles. We do have to glimpse the future and persuade people there is a better future with Labour.

“There’s nothing like our health service anywhere in the world.” Mr Starmer gave the examples of Sure start, hospitals, schools and said they were impossible dreams made possible by a Labour government.

He said: “We have a choice. We can either spend the next four years, moping around or we can pull together. We can say the next leg of the journey is for us. We can change things. We can do the hard work.

How proud would you be to be part of a Labour Party that changes lives? We need to change our party, our movement and our country for the better.”

Questions from the floor

  1. The first question was about anti-Semitism: how did we get here and in practical terms, how do you expunge it?

Mr Starmer said: “If you’re anti-Semitic, you shouldn’t be in the Labour Party. I will ask for weekly progress reports. If you want things to change, you have to show that you’re personally committed to it. I will only feel I’ve dealt with it when people who left because of anti-Semitism, come back to the Labour Party.”

He said the anti-Semitism question is part of a wider debate about how I make this Labour Party more inclusive. In Mr Starmer’s constituency, there was one ward meeting where young people never came back. Our arguments put people off. We weren’t inclusive and tolerant enough. They didn’t feel we would make a difference.

  1. Electoral reform. He said: “It’s not right for people to vote in safe seats and feel their vote doesn’t count.” Mr Starmer said Labour will reform the house of Lords, create an elected senate and a regis of the nations. Wales and Scotland have different systems already as devolved assemblies. In Wales 16 & 17 year olds can already vote. The Labour Party will be producing a discussion document about electoral reform. In the meantime, watch this site:
  2. Why does the Parliamentary Labour Party decide the names on the leadership ballot when the party has a membership of 580,000?

Mr Starmer said: “Whoever leads the Party needs unity in Parliament. If not, you have a flank open that you don’t want open. Having a leader that the team in Parliament don’t really want does bring problems. In the end now we have a shortlist, it is a very empowering thing for members. Whoever wins, we will support them.”

  1. Negative effect of the media on the Labour Party: Mr Starmer said: “Jeremy Corbyn was vilified by the media for years. Jeremy got more than his fair share of it. Media amplified Tory lies. Social media. Conservative Party HQ. I salute all the candidates putting themselves forward. This slide into abuse for the Labour Party needs to change. The lies interchanged with it are just making it worse.”
  1. Green new deal: Mr Starmer said: “Is it realistic to be carbon free by 2030? It’s really difficult. If we come in in 2024, will we be carbon free by 2030? We can be very upbeat in the Green Deal.” He mentioned biogass, (vehicle) batteries, insulation and said there are incredible opportunities for an explosion of opportunity.
  2. How do you hold the government to account on climate change? “We need to address the climate crisis and challenge the government internationally… There is a climate crisis. The Paris agreement is pretty weak. We need to take Mr Johnson on in that fight… Some of what we can do, we will do. We need clean air for people with respiratory problems.”
  3. Single sex exemptions in the 2010 equality act: Mr Starmer said rights for transgender people are very important. He said there needs to be a respectful discussion because trans people and those in same sex relationships need to be protected. He said their rights are not a political football. You can read more about gender reassignment discrimination here. Gender reassignment is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010 along with eight others which are: Age disability, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation.

Final reflections on the manifesto: Mr Starmer said in the 2019 general election people weren’t saying they don’t like your policies, they just thought the manifesto was overloaded. “We had a manifesto that no-one believed, they (the Conservatives) just had three words – “Get Brexit done.”

Labour leadership election

Personal Reflections

I think Jeremy Corbyn is a clear example of a leadership candidate that many in the Parliamentary Labour Party did not initially support and in the end he may have helped the Conservative Party to their landslide victory. I personally really like Jeremy Corbyn.

Alastair Campbell and Tony Blair also thought Jeremy Corbyn was the wrong leader and said so very publicly, as did many other Labour MPs. Mr Corbyn did not have much support initially in the Parliamentary Labour Party and in the end proved no competition for Boris Johnson, although against a weaker leader (Theresa May), he had some success. Parliamentarians probably really do know their leaders best because they work with them day in and day out in the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

However much Brexit fatigue we are feeling, exploited by the Conservative Party during their campaign, Brexit remains the pressing issue for government and for all MPs over the next 12 months at least. Mr Starmer was the Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union until we left the EU.

As a journalist I am not a member of any political party but I would want to elect the candidate with the best understanding of Brexit who can provide robust opposition to the Conservative government and most effectively hold Boris Johnson to account.

We need to tackle inequality, particularly wealth inequality, and acknowledge the accident of birth that determines every child’s future. We need to heal our nation and union as well as reaching out a hand of friendship to the EU and the Commonwealth beyond it.

We need to fight for the NHS and our other public services more than ever so that money is not just put into policing and prisons.

However, our clear mandate now from the electorate is ‘to get Brexit done’ whether we like it or not.

The Labour Party should elect the candidate best able to hold Boris Johnson to account in the House of Commons. In the next twelve months MPs must insist on accountability over Brexit and must build an alliance with other parties to scrutinise government negotiations.

Labour lost the election badly but she still has a very important role to play in Parliament and in the running of our country. The Labour Party is the opposition to the government and the government in waiting.

Brighton and Hove Labour Parties have up to four days to nominate their Labour leadership candidates

Brighton Kemptown’s Labour Party votes on who to nominate for the Labour leadership tonight. Brighton Pavilion and Hove and Portslade Labour Parties will decide on their nomination on Saturday.

Member only Labour Party meetings to decide on the Constituency Labour Party (CLP) nominations will be held this week across Brighton and Hove at the following locations:

  1. Brighton Kemptown, Wed 05 February, Dorset Methodist church, 7pm Dorset Gardens
  2. Brighton Pavilion, 08 February, Grand Hotel, Brighton Pavilion, 9:30am
  3. Hove and Portslade, 08 February, Hove Cricket Ground, 2pm

Four candidates who are still in the Labour leadership race are Sir Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy and Emily Thornberry. They have sufficient backing from MPs and MEPs to approach constituency labour parties for support. Jess Phillips has withdrawn from the race for leadership of the Labour Party.

Each candidate needs either five percent of Constituency Labour Parties (33) or at least three affiliates (at least two of which shall be a trade union) comprising five percent of affiliated membership to be successfully included on the ballot. The final date for the Labour Parties in each constituency across the UK, including the three in Brighton and Hove, and affiliates to submit their nomination is Valentines day, Friday 14th February.

Ballots open for voting by Labour Party members on Friday 21 February and close on 02 April. The result will be announced on Saturday 04 April.

At 10am on Wednesday 05 February 2020, the constituency nominations were still coming in and a rolling list of constituency Labour Party nominations for the Labour leadership is available that will be updated until Friday 14 February when nominations close.

Candidate Total Nominations

Labour Leader Candidate Union or affiliate support Constituency nominations
Rebecca Long-Bailey UNITE, BFAWU, FBU, CWU 70
Lisa Nandy National Union of Mineworkers

Chinese for Labour


Jess Phillips Withdrawn Withdrawn
Sir Keir Starmer UNISON, Usdaw, SERA, Community, Labour Movement for Europe, Labour Business, Socialist Health Association 154
Emily Thornberry No union support 12

You can read more about the Labour leadership selection process and candidates here and see how your MP and old MEPs voted when they declare.

Rebecca Long-Bailey is supported by the following unions: UNITE and the Bakers Food Alliance Worker’s Union. UNITE is the second largest union of British and Irish members who have successively elected Len McCluskey to run it. It was formed when Amicus merged with the Transport and General Worker’s Union.

Lisa Nandy has support from the National Union of Mineworkers, Chinese for Labour and GMB whose General Secretary is Tim Roache.

Sir Keir Starmer is backed by the Socialist Environmental and Resources Association, UNISON which is the largest and a public service union run by Dave Prentis and USDAW which is the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers. Mr Starmer spoke at All Saints Church, Hove this evening, Tuesday 04 February 2020.

Emily Thornberry will be relying on constituency support from constituency labour parties because she does not have union backing for her campaign.

Deputy Labour Leadership

For the deputy leadership of the Labour Party, Angela Rayner is the run away favourite. Here are how the figures broke down on the rolling list of CLP deputy leader nominations once again updated this morning at 10am, 05 February, 2020:

Candidate for deputy Unions or affiliates Constituency nominations
Dr Rosena Allin-Khan Labour Campaign for International Development 16
Richard Burgon UNITE, BFAWU, FBU 24
Dawn Butler Chinese for Labour 38
Ian Murray Labour Movement for Europe 27
Angela Rayner


National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), UNISON, GMB, USDAW, CWU, Labour Business, Socialist Health Association 159

An edited version of this article was published today by Brighton and Hove News.

Brighton and Hove ‘shine a light’ for Europe

Brighton and Hove for Europe organised a vigil yesterday, Friday 31 January, next to the Peace Statue on Hove Lawns. It was a simple moment to remember Britain’s contribution to the European Union and a solemn moment where we came together to say goodbye.

We sang Beethoven’s Ode to Joy and held hands to sing Auld Lang Syne as they did in the European Parliament on Tuesday.

In a statement from Caroline Lucas, she said: “This is a historic day, whether you voted to leave the EU or to remain.

“And our future will be judged by how we respond now to this moment.   I want to be honest.  My heart is breaking.

“Of course, like all institutions, the EU has its flaws – but for me it has always stood for ambition, courage and vision.

“This is what helped us emerge from the rubble and destruction of the second world war into a country that’s been at peace with its neighbours ever since. A miracle few would have dreamed possible when the bombs were raining down.

“And ambition, courage and vision are what we still have in common.

“We will need them all to rise to the greatest challenge we face today – the climate emergency.

“Only by working cooperatively with our closest neighbours – as well as with those further afield – will we be able to take the urgent and ambitious action the science demands to prevent the worst of the climate crisis.  And we need the vision to completely transform our economic system.

“To work in harmony with nature. To leave behind a world where weapons and money can go anywhere, but refugees are vilified and compassion chased out of town. And we need climate justice to go hand in hand with social justice.

“The Leave vote was a howl of rage at a status quo in this country that is intolerable for huge numbers of people. The social contract is broken and the power game is rigged.  We need the vision to build a democratic consensus about changing that, together, for good.

“The potential power of our collective action demands that we reach out, with courage, to those from whom we have become so dangerously divided.  Bravely build bridges in our communities and around the world, not burn them.

“We live in turbulent times. The political tides are unpredictable. The real tides are rising. Far right populism is once more stoking fear, division and despair.

“The future has never felt so uncertain.

“Yet if Brexit has taught us anything, it’s that what we previously imagined unthinkable is in fact possible.

“We may have lost the battle to keep Britain in the EU but what kind of endings do we believe in?

“I believe in those that are also beginnings.

“And the struggle for a compassionate, fair, green, peaceful, future begins anew right now.

“In the love and sadness so many of us are feeling right now, we affirm, rather than deny our fellowship with Europe and the world.

“We begin again knowing hope is always more powerful than hate, that our common humanity matters more than what divides us.

“That ambition, vision and courage call.”

European Union

Hove MP Peter Kyle was unable to attend the Peace Vigil in Brighton said: “All of us are united in sadness just as we were united in our fight to remain in the EU.

“Thanks to you all I remain an optimist. Together we’ve seen too much of the good in humanity in our campaigning to emerge from this battle as pessimists!

“The political landscape hasn’t stopped evolving because we’ve now left the EU. Quite the opposite. The months ahead will give us so many opportunities to set out our vision for a better Britain. Better than the one Brexiteers could ever imagine!

“Please stay united. Please stay positive. And please let’s continue our campaign in new and exciting ways.”

Labour’s Tracey Hill, Councillor for Hollingdean and Stanmer ward said two flags were raised at the Town Hall buildings of Brighton and Hove City Council today – one British and the other European.

She said: “I am proud of being part of ‘the barmiest council’ in Britain. I can be British and I am European. I don’t think being British is the only thing about me.”

Ms Hill said she was pleased we gathered near the peace statue because it reminded her of the statue of liberty in New York which should have been a symbol of opportunity.

She said: “You give something and you get something back.” People often tell her that migrants only take something away. To Ms Hill, nationalism and populism has never made sense.

“You have to celebrate our differences instead of being afraid of them. We have to live those values and never shy away from having a difficult conversation. We should have talked about Europe, we should have challenged populism. If you do not fight for the things we love, you will lose them.”

Councillor Leo Litman spoke on behalf of the Green Party. He said: “So, it’s Brexit day. Britain has ‘taken back control.’ An easy slogan to shout but what does it mean?

“Even Brexit Party MEPs belatedly realised that without a voice in the European Parliament we are now simply rule-takers, no longer rule-makers. In other words, we’ve given up control we once had. But surely, now we can now control our own destiny? Hardly.

“The whole world knows the UK is negotiating from a point of desperate weakness. We literally cannot survive without trading with the rest of the world but the world can get along just fine without trading with us.

“Britain is almost certainly the first country in history to impose sanctions on itself…

“Britain alone cannot hope to stand against the ongoing climate and biodiversity crises. We need to work together.

“Britain alone cannot uphold worker’s rights, consumers’ rights, the right to free movement, the rights of refugees to reunite with their families, animal rights or the rights of the natural world. We need to work together.

“Britain alone cannot create a fairer world where resources are shared equally between people, nations and across generations, including those not yet born. We need to work together.

“Fundamentally, we need to take back control from those who have temporarily grabbed it and share it with each other, with our European cousins, with the rest of humanity and the rest of the natural world.

“Only that way can we be genuinely free and look to a safe future we can all share.

“The first step towards that is maintaining as strong a relationship with the EU as possible.

“The next step is, of course, re-joining and re-taking our rightful place at the heart of Europe.”


Susie Cortault is one of the organisers for Brighton and Hove for Europe. She said:

“So, yes, today we are desperately sad that we are being wrenched out of our European family against our will. Brexit has always been an ideological political project but it has had costs and for us it has been personal.

“Families are divided, friends have been lost. But coming together as a movement and sharing our upset and pooling our resources, has been incredibly healing and supportive.

“I would like to thank all those members of the committee of Brighton and Hove for EU who have helped these last three years – we have lost members – and we have gained members. Last week we had several new members. We know we are stronger and more effective if we are unified, rather than divided.

“Let’s shine a light tonight as a symbol of hope.  Let’s be proud of those progressive values that underpin the European project.

“So most of us agree that now is not the time to campaign to rejoin, don’t worry, but our work is not done.

“And when the time is right, we will return to be at the heart of Europe where We belong.

“Until then, let’s celebrate our ‘Europeanness,’ let’s get into our schools and try and influence the learning of foreign languages, exchange trips, pen friends, protecting and campaigning for Erasmus, and potentially twinning with a European city.

“Brexit is a political ideology but we are the people, and we can change things on the ground – in our schools, in our council, in all the places where we have a voice. Let’s reinvigorate our democracy…

“Before we sing our final song, Auld Lang Syne may I remind you to stay close to  your loved ones, allow yourself to cry, hug each other. Feel what you feel.

“We are a vibrant progressive city, let’s light a candle and put it in our window at 11, turn off the lights, and if you use twitter use the hashtag #still European.

“Or #Forever European. When the 50 coin comes out, just remove it from circulation. Put it in a jar and get Brexit gone!

“Auld Lang Syne

“Thank you for coming”

Wish Councillor Robert Nemeth who was the Conservative candidate at the last general election was approached and declined to comment. He was interviewed about his views on Brexit on Latest TV.

Government denies Parliament scrutiny over the UK’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill

Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion, Caroline Lucas, wrote earlier in January in the Independent. She said: “Boris Johnson’s new Withdrawal Agreement Bill not only drives the hardest Brexit of all, it also excludes MPs from decisions over our future relationship with the EU.  The House of Commons will have no oversight on the Government’s negotiating objectives, no right to be kept updated on progress and no vote on the final deal.

“The right of Parliament to scrutinise Government policies and actions is being undermined on one of the most important issues facing our country.  Democratic oversight matters.  Trade deals have the potential to lower public standards, destroy jobs and restrict the ability to address social and environmental issues.”

Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion
Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion

“Democracy dies in darkness, and Boris Johnson’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill starts to turn off the lights.  He is using Brexit as an executive power-grab, side-lining MPs and evading parliamentary scrutiny.

Boris Johnson’s government brought the Withdrawal Agreement Bill back to Parliament after the general election and gave the House of Commons only three days to scrutinise the bill in order to fulfil the pledge to “get Brexit done.”

According to the Guardian,  certain key accountability provisions have been removed from the Bill passed since the general election:

  • the clause giving MPs the right to approve an extension to the transition period has been removed.
  • The clause 31 requirement for parliamentary approval for negotiations on the future relationship in the October bill has gone.
  • In the new bill clauses pledging alignment with the EU on workers’ rights has been removed.
  • Legal protections for refugee children reunited with family members in the UK have been watered down. The bill removes, via clause 37, obligations in regard to unaccompanied children seeking asylum in the EU with an obligation to make a statement within two months of passing the act.
  • The government no longer promises that its’ position on negotiating the future relationship will be in line with the political declaration that accompanied the withdrawal agreement when it was first drafted.

Mrs Lucas tabled an amendment to the Withdrawal Agreement Bill in Parliament on 8th January which would have given MPs a vote on a future UK-EU deal as well as increasing transparency and scrutiny. It had the support of MPs from the SNP, Plaid, Labour, the SDLP and Alliance parties, although no Conservatives who hold a majority of 80 seats in the House of Commons.

The amendment was therefore defeated and the Withdrawal Agreement Bill passed its second reading with a majority of 124 votes to the government. Mrs Lucas’ amendment was voted down by 347 votes to 251, effectively vetoing any vote for MPs on the final Brexit deal.

Hove MP, Peter Kyle, supported the Green Party amendment. He said: “I’m fully supporting this amendment – we cannot allow the Tory government to ride roughshod over Parliament and MPs who were elected to be a voice for our communities.”

From the Commons the bill went to the House of Lords where the Dubs Amendment about child refugees was defeated among other amendments. On 23 January the Withdrawal Agreement Bill received royal assent and became UK law and on 29 January the European Union gave their consent for the UK to leave the EU and ratified the British bill.

The EU Parliament sang Auld Lang Syne on Tuesday as a mark of respect for the significant role that Britain has played in the European Union since it joined the European Economic Community (EEC) which preceded the EU in 1973.

Peter Kyle, Labour MP for Hove and Portslade

When asked what kind of trade deal Mr Kyle wanted post Brexit and with whom, Mr Kyle said: “We now need to ensure we get the very best for the country. I believe as a trading bloc we had that deal with Europe, but now we must work hard to minimise disruption and increased food prices and loss of business.”

In an effort to maximise Parliamentary scrutiny of Brexit negotiations, Mr Kyle said: “I am hoping to be elected on to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee. As an active member on this committee I will have the opportunity to hold the government – and business – to account on the major issues of the environment, the Green Economy and business.”

I asked Mr Kyle if the Labour Party is succeeding in holding the government to account, are they working in coalition with anyone and if Labour does not feel it is succeeding because of the size of Boris’ majority, what can be done?

Mr Kyle said: “The 2019 election was a disaster for Labour and we are now rebuilding. Once the new leader is in place, in April, we will be much clearer as to how we proceed going forward.

“I’m hoping that we can begin to start talking to the public once more and to understand what they want and what their concerns are. We will then also have a new front bench team to challenge Boris Johnson.”

Wish Councillor Robert Nemeth who was the Conservative candidate at the last general election was approached and declined to comment.

A hard Brexit may beckon

Brexit and a no deal

Ollie Sykes, Green Candidate for Hove and Portslade Constituency said: “I think Johnson’s deal is worse than Theresa May’s because it has watered down social and environmental protections. It’s a trap door. We will revert to no deal by 2020 if the free trade withdrawal agreement is not agreed. Bringing the possibility of a hard Brexit closer.

“A border down the Irish Sea shows the duplicity and untrustworthiness of the Johnson administration, it shows how quickly they will ditch their partners, the DUP. It’s a step in the direction of breaking up the union.

“The Conservatives made a confidence and supply agreement with the DUP to form a government and then tried to push a border down the Irish Sea through Parliament.”

The problem is I don’t think there is an alternative to a border in the Irish Sea. Boris should simply give Northern Ireland a choice at the end of the transition period about whether to remain in the United Kingdom or join the Republic of Ireland and Europe. I suspect Northern Ireland will opt to remain in the union and then Ireland will be divided once again. (Roz Scott)

There may need to be a referendum in Northern Ireland, particularly if Stormont is still not sitting. We can only hope Stormont will be governing Northern Ireland again by the end of 2020 which is the default end of the transition period if no further arrangements are made. There may be a deal in sight with Sinn Fein to put Gaelic on a par with English. (Roz Scott)

Job losses and economic impact if we Brexit

Mr Sykes said: ‘The government rejected the impact on GDP of Brexit which is between 6.3% to nine percent. It’s slightly less with Boris Johnson’s deal,’ the Guardian predicts 4% by 2020.

He said there are projections for a no deal and a deal. There is a no deal impact study and that shows a decline in GDP. Mr Sykes said: “There will clearly be an increase in inequality if the Conservatives get in with any sort of majority government.”

Mr Sykes pointed to research carried out by Dr Serwicka and Alan L Winters at the UK Trade Policy Observatory (UKTPO.) It has calculated that workers in both East and West Sussex will lose 10,000 jobs meaning total job losses amount to 20,000 with a further 23,000 in Hampshire.

The report said the impact will be felt most strongly in the South East because the region is the most heavily engaged in cross-border trade exporting £45.3bn worth of goods last year (and £39.2bn worth of services in 2016) with nearly a half of these exports destined for the EU.”

Dr Serwicka said cross-border trade and high exposure to trade with the EU, means that a ‘no deal’ Brexit could be particularly disruptive to the South East’s economy.

She actually said: “This research makes very clear that both soft and hard forms of Brexit, but in particular, a ‘no deal’ Brexit, are likely to have a negative impact on the lives of many residents in Hampshire and Sussex.

“Of course, we cannot say for certain that this number of job losses will definitely happen, as employers may choose to reduce number of hours and wages rather than cut workforce numbers.

“But this analysis gives some indication of which places in our region may be most vulnerable to Brexit.

Government misinformation about their statistics

However, Mr Sykes is also concerned about the Conservative misinformation contained in their statistics. Misinformation stretches beyond the Prime Minister and his NHS claims on the Leave campaign bus.

For example, Nicky Morgan when she was cross-examined about 50,000 district nurses in the Conservative manifesto pledge, admitted 18,500 were existing nurses or those returning to nursing. Sajid David claimed rough sleeping had gone down under the Conservatives.

Mr Sykes said: “There’s no accountability. It’s sad and quite frightening that these lies, for example Boris and his Leave campaign bus during the EU referendum. The problems with the NHS, Nicky Morgan didn’t know the district nurse numbers. Sajid David said homelessness and rough sleeping declined under the Conservatives. It’s simply not true.”

Conservatives and the media

Mr Sykes said: “The responsibility partly lies with the media. One of our proposals in our Green manifesto, is that media ownership needs to be restricted.”

This means no media company can own more than 20% of a broadcasting channel. What I’m scared of in respect of the media is that there is no obligation of impartiality.” Mr Sykes gave the example of Fox News based in America.

I asked Mr Sykes what he thought of reporting on the BBC and he said he thinks the BBC feels under pressure. He said: “It has already been threatened by the Government with removal of the TV licence.” Boris refused to give an interview to Andrew Neil.

He criticised the Prime Minister for his lack of accountability, saying Andrew Neil did a three minute piece, outlining the challenges he wanted to put to Boris Johnson. Boris chose to give Andrew Marr the interview instead.

Mr Sykes said: “It’s the overt and covert threats that are the problem. The Conservatives pull in their horns to protect their public integrity.”

Green verdict on Boris Johnson’s government: “dishonesty, entitlement and impunity.”

Ollie Sykes, the Green Party Candidate for Hove and Portslade Constituency said: “When I think of Boris Johnson, three words come into my head: dishonesty, entitlement and impunity. This guy lied to the Queen as was verified by the Supreme Court Judgement and frankly I can’t believe a word that he says. And you know, the platform of Boris Johnson at the moment is: “We are the party that is best placed to sort out the mess that we created.” Frankly if you believe that, you’ll believe anything.” (Who you gonna vote for? Hove and Portslade 2019, The Vote, Latest TV, 29 November 2019)

I interviewed him about his position on Boris Johnson after he gave his verdict about the Prime Minister on Latest TV towards the end of last year.

Mr Sykes said: “I don’t trust Boris to do anything at all.” I asked him what the problem is with Mr Johnson and he said to me: “Impunity, entitlement and dishonesty.” By impunity, Mr Sykes means the Prime Minister’s apparent perception that whatever the Government does, they’ll get away with it including shutting down Parliament.

Finally, he spoke with deep regret about attacks on women MPs and the continuing downward trend of women leaving Parliament because it’s not a safe place to work. He gave examples of attacks on Hastings MP Amber Rudd and Labour’s Stoke Newington MP Dianne Abbott.

I approached Conservative Head Quarters and Councillor Robert Nemeth who is the Hove PPC (Prospective Parliamentary Candidate) for the Conservative Party to give them the right to reply and both declined to comment.

Migrants urge Brighton to consider “One day without us” if we leave the EU

As the exit polls predict a huge Conservative majority in the general election 2019, I am republishing a story written in 2016 before the EU referendum about what happens if we leave the EU. I will miss my European friends very much if we do in fact leave the EU. I very much hope we don’t. EU citizens can apply for settled status to remain in the UK.

Hundreds of people gathered yesterday at Brighton’s clock tower and across the UK to show solidarity with migrants from around the world who are living, working and studying in Britain. The event was organised by Pip from Left Unity to commemorate the UN day of social justice. #1daywithoutus

Monday 20 February was an important day: United Nations World day of Justice and the day Parliament debated US President Trump’s state visit to Britain with Defend Migrants Stop Trump protestors outside.

Jane Allen said she was supporting valued friends, neighbours and workers: “People from all nations get on living together for a common cause. My dentist is Greek, my physio is German. I am not from Brighton, I left Norfolk when I was one year old. Does that mean I should go back to Norfolk?

“I voted against Brexit because I was worried about people who might want to come to the UK. It never occurred to me, I never had any doubt that people who have been here for 20 years could be under threat of having to leave.

“I don’t want them to have to leave. I am here today to show how much I value them.”

Jane Allen

Jane Matthews said: “The more people that stand up, the better, show solidarity, if only everyone came by for 20 minutes, we’re all a bit complacent, it is very easy to ‘sofa shout.’

“I don’t know when multiculturalism became such a dirty word. Cultural diversity should be something we want to bring richness into life, it’s completely bonkers that people don’t want it.

“I challenge you to find me an indigenous Brit. Scaremongering and xenophobia is just all wrong.”

leave the EU

Marta Mouzo Insua spoke at the rally on behalf of the Spanish collective Marea Granate. She said Spanish people have very precarious living and working conditions and because of that many young people are forced to emigrate:

“I am one of them. We come here looking for a job, we do not come here hoping to become rich, stealing from you or taking advantage of your people and country. We just want to live with dignity.

“In exchange, we offer a lot of things to this country:

  • “Our education and work experience. A lot of us have high academic education and or a lot of work experience from our jobs. We are professionals of every sector.
  • “Our hands and bodies to work. Most of us are young people, between 20 to 45 years old.
  • “And our culture. Our culture to share with you and learn about your culture.

“We are the nurses and doctors that look after you, we are the engineers that design your computers or buildings, we are the waiters and waitresses who serve your drinks and we are the kitchen porters that clean your plates.”

Marta Mouzo Insua

Dorothée Fritze-James who came to the rally with her daughter explained the impact of Brexit on her family, the devastating impact if they have to leave the EU and dislikes the dehumanising of EU citizens: “I have been here since 1979. Now I have no right to be here, I am desperate, depressed, the kids, including my grandchildren, are deeply affected. I can’t sleep.”

She said she is lucky that she can afford an immigration lawyer (many can’t) to help her apply for UK citizenship but resents the UK using EU citizens as a bargaining chip and ignoring their pleas for clarity and security. She has had a permit for 33 years giving her indefinite leave to remain in the UK. It may not be enough if we leave the EU.

Sign the permanent residency petition here:

Ms Fritze-James said: “My daughter, who was 10 months old when my ex-husband and I moved to the UK, must apply for Permanent Residency. This is her home, here. She has children and is married to a UK citizen. One of her children is no longer sleeping because of the anxiety, fearing that she’ll lose her mother. My daughter was educated in the UK and has never lived anywhere else.”

Angie Parker works as a special needs teacher is a German citizen carrying an EU passport and a Jew but has been a UK taxpayer for 30 years. She said: “I am going back to Germany because I don’t want to be a pawn in Mrs May’s stupid game. At least Germany is a positive democracy. I work in education but it is not enough to stay here. I am sick and tired of being told to pack my bags.”

Angie Parker

Councillors Phelim MacCafferty and Councillor Leo Littman attended the rally. Councillor MacCafferty urged people to directly promote the voice of the vulnerable and to become champions of compassion and concern.

He warned: “Ignoring prejudice of any sort has never made it disappear. We do not have the luxury of walking away from hatred anywhere in our city. We must be clear: we will oppose the growth of the far-right and will not allow the current climate of fear to go unchallenged. That’s because not just Brighton and Hove, but this country is better than this.”

“Ignoring prejudice does not make it go away. The call is to be better than this.” Yel Karavan’s father is an artist and she has been travelling since the age of three. She works as a dancer and physical performer and said: “It is beautiful when cultures learn from each other and open our minds. We all have a heart, we are all human, we are an organism and only when the organism works together, there is life.”

Greens and Lib Dems stand up to Labour over a proportional electoral system

I asked Hove’s Green candidate, Ollie Sykes, why he did not stand aside for Labour’s Peter Kyle in order to strengthen the ‘remain’ vote and form a ‘progressive alliance’ that mirrors a more proportional electoral system.

Mr Sykes, who served as a Councillor for Brunswick and Adelaide Ward until 2019 said: It’s because of a lack of reciprocation and because Hove is not a marginal seat. It’s extremely clear and it makes perfect sense because of the rationale and the nature of the seat.”

Later in the interview below, Mr Sykes said: “I think Labour and Peter Kyle personally support changes to our electoral system. If Peter Kyle had said he would support something proportional, I would have considered standing aside. In fact, I would have to think about that.”

In terms of a general election, Mr Sykes said: “All we can do is hope for is a hung Parliament.” Liberal Democrats have stood aside for Caroline Lucas from the Green Party in Brighton Pavilion in favour of a proportional electoral system but neither the Green Party nor the Lib Dems have stood aside for Peter Kyle in Hove and Portslade.

The reason this article matters is that a government majority of 66 sets a very dangerous precedent and will undermine Parliamentary scrutiny. I think our democracy is at risk and our constitution because of an unaccountable Prime Minister.

First Past the Post voting system

Mr Sykes said the problem with the British parliamentary system is it’s a two party contest, it’s a rigged game designed and maintained by two players.

“Despite the game being rigged when any other players do well, like the Greens are doing well in Brighton and Hove, the main players will still tell the smaller parties to step aside,” he said.

“Tactical voting is what people do to keep the Tories out. That contribution, that borrowed vote, is purely seen as a deserved, merited win. I think tactical voting causes long-term damage and the depression of the smaller parties.

“Evidently most people don’t spend their lives ‘doing politics.’ When it comes to elections, there’s always lots of discussion of tactical voting. There’s an impression that we do have a form of proportional representation (PR) because of the coalitions.

“But a local vote will have an impact on the vote nationally in terms of the nature of the next government.

“In a first past the post system, people are told a vote for the smaller parties is a wasted vote.

Green Position on Brexit

“The Green Party’s position on Brexit and wanting a People’s Vote has been clear from very early on. We think the only way out of this Brexit debacle is to have two options on the ballot paper, Leave and Remain.”

I asked Mr Sykes again why he did not stand aside like Lib Dem Paul Chandler in Brighton Pavilion to ‘stop Brexit’ and the Green Party Candidate said: “I think Labour and Peter Kyle personally support changes to our electoral system. If Peter Kyle had said he would support something proportional, I would have considered standing aside.” He then slightly retracted this by saying: “In fact, I would have to think about that.”

However, when they were both cross-examined at a hustings by the electorate according to Mr Sykes, Mr Kyle said that all proportional systems of government lose the geographical link.

Marginal Seats versus a proportional electoral system

I asked Mr Sykes what he thought of the Alternative Vote electoral system. He said in the marginal seat of Ceredigion in Wales where Gethin James was standing for the Brexit Party, 70% of votes cast were against the candidate that won the election. He said: “It’s possible in a multi-way marginal under the first past the post system.”

“In the 2015 and 2017 general elections, the number of votes that were effectively wasted were 64% and 71% respectively.”

Electoral turnout in Ceredigion, Plaid Cymru won by 0.2% with only 29.2% of the vote. None of the other votes were transferred from the losing parties so they were effectively wasted.

In a two party system, both the main parties want to win an outright majority. Mr Sykes admitted that in a proportional system there will be more extremists where parties are “forced to speak to each other, it’s just grown up politics.”

A proportional electoral system

The problem is a proportional system is not the way the political system in marginal seats works at the moment in the UK. In Britain the constitution which is unwritten works by a series of checks and balances between the executive i.e. the government, Parliament and the judiciary.

The power of a referendum or an election is to shift this balance of power by asking the people. The problem at the moment is that politicians can’t decide if and how to implement the outcome of the last EU referendum.

Labour’s Position

In response to Mr Sykes remarks, Labour MP for Hove and Portslade, Peter Kyle who has campaigned for a Confirmatory Referendum which is like a People’s Vote, said: “The Greens are obsessed with doing deals, I just want some common sense in this one-off Brexit election.

“I’ve said throughout this campaign that Labour supporters in areas we have no hope of winning, should consider voting for an anti-Tory party. Ollie is only interested in a deal that helps his party out, his first thought is ‘what’s in it for me and my party.’ This simply isn’t how I do my politics, I put our country first every time.

“The Greens and Lib Dems support a version of electoral reform that delivers for their party interests. I support a comprehensive review of what is wrong with our politics and finding appropriate ways of fixing it. Everything should be up for discussion including electoral reform but not limited to it.

“I’m sad that stopping Boris Johnson’s Brexit comes second to getting a vague commitment on proportional representation for Ollie, but it is what I’ve come to expect.”

Labour’s Jack Straw who served in Tony Blair’s government preferred an Alternative Vote system to Proportional Representation. The problem with PR is it has many electoral forms and tends to result in coalitions.

Liberal Democrat Position

Beatrice Bass who is the Liberal Democrat candidate is also standing in Hove. She said: “I am standing in this election to uphold the liberal values which the Liberal Democrats hold dear – equality, liberty and community.

“And I contribute to our aim of building a fair, fee and open society. I am proud to be standing on a fantastic manifesto with progressive policies and a comprehensive plan to tackle the climate crisis, improve health care and our education system, boost our economy and invest in our left behind regions and nations.

“In fact, the manifesto contains a policy that I introduced: to protect music venues in support of our vibrant music scene. And as a ‘Remainer’ and internationalist, I support the Lib Dems in our fight to stop Brexit.

“Hove is not a Remain Alliance seat because the Labour party is not part of the Remain Alliance, and Peter Kyle is standing on a manifesto to negotiate a new Brexit deal.

“Labour has been sitting on the fence for too long and has suffered under the antisemitism scandal.

“Many Labour members have ended their membership and have recently joined the Liberal Democrats (our local membership has increased significantly in the last few months and many former Labour members are now part of my campaign team.)

Liberal Democrat position on Brexit and a proportional electoral system

“People don’t trust Labour who want to negotiate their own Brexit deal and who continuously refuse to back Remain.

“The Lib Dems tabled People’s Vote motions 17 times in Parliament, but they did not pass because of a lack of Labour support.

“Increasing Labour MPs will mean we might have another delay whilst they negotiate a new deal and we’ll have further uncertainty over what that deal will be. There is also a high risk that this deal would win backing at a confirmatory referendum, which means we get a Labour Brexit after all.

“The safest way to stop Brexit is to vote for a party that is committed to fight for remaining in the EU.

“The Liberal Democrats are the biggest and strongest remain party and I am standing on a manifesto to either revoke article 50, if the Lib Dems gain a majority, or, if there is a hung Parliament, to continue our fight for a referendum, where the Lib Dems firmly, unanimously and unequivocally back Remain.

“Further, Brexit has changed the political landscape and people are moving away from the traditional right or left wing politics to voting either for an open, pro EU, pro equality party like the Lib Dems or Greens in the South East.

“Or they vote for a populist, protectionist and anti EU party like the Conservatives or the Brexit party.

“Many former conservative voters in Hove feel politically homeless. They do not support Boris Johnson’s protectionist Brexit direction. They also strongly disagree with Jeremy Corbyn’s hard left socialism.

“They are now looking at the Liberal Democrats and I would like to give these constituents a credible alternative and an opportunity to vote for a progressive party with policies fit for the 21st century.”

In Brighton and Hove we are beginning to see a progressive coalition on the left that may, win a People’s Vote that will help us break the Brexit impasse and could also herald in a proportional electoral system at Westminster.

Caroline Lucas launches her ‘new deal for nature’

During a frantic fortnight of this general election campaign, Brighton Pavilion’s Green Candidate for re-election, Caroline Lucas, launched a ‘new deal for nature’ last Thursday 5 December. She set out a range of policies to protect and restore wildlife and biodiversity in the UK.

Mrs Lucas has tabled a private member’s bill to take a ‘new green deal bill’ through Parliament. If she is successful as a private member (as opposed to the Government,) an announcement will be made in the Queen’s Speech which sets out the legislative framework after the general election. Hove MP Peter Kyle is also taking a bill through Parliament to outlaw domestic abuse and it has already been guaranteed a second reading.

Ollie Sykes is the Green Party candidate standing in Hove and Portslade. Newly elected MEP Alex Phillips is standing in Kemptown for the Green Party. You can find a full list of candidates for the general election here.

Mrs Lucas said: “We are not only running out of time on the climate emergency, there’s also little time left to reverse

Mrs Lucas said: “We are not only running out of time on the climate emergency, there’s also little time left to reverse the catastrophic decline in nature and wildlife.

“This election has to mark a turning point and the moment when people vote for nature.”

She said that in the last two centuries Britain has seen a catastrophic destruction of wildlife which is now one of the most densely populated countries in Europe.  Over the past 100 years, we have destroyed 99% of flower-rich meadows.  Just in the past 30 years, 44 million breeding birds have been lost because of habitat destruction.

As the foreword to the report says: “If we continue to trash our planet we will consign not only other species to extinction but, ultimately, ourselves. We must put the self-sustaining variety of life – biodiversity – at the centre of all work by government departments. This report provides a blueprint for how to achieve it.”

Caroline Lucas commissioned the report to assist her work as an MP, and to inform the Green Party’s own policies on wildlife and land use. Mrs Lucas also is taking a new green deal bill through Parliament.

Brighton’s one and only Green Party Candidate said: “While the climate emergency has rightly risen to the top of the political agenda, much less attention is paid to the crisis facing nature.  But it’s equally urgent that we address this too.

“The Green Party has the best and most ambitious policies on nature of any political party, as both Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth have recently concluded.  But we cannot be complacent. 

“It’s not enough to have strong policies: we need to be constantly challenged to go further, and I hope this new deal for nature will put our natural environment at the centre of public debate, so that MPs in the next Parliament take decisive action on what’s needed to protect and restore nature and wildlife in Britain.”

The Green Party’s manifesto already contains over 70 policies on nature and wildlife and a commitment to put the natural world at the heart of government decision-making.  Among the pledges are the introduction of a Natural History GCSE, a 10-year transition to agro-ecological farming methods, better enforcement, and a Sustainable Economy Act which sets new legally binding targets for biodiversity, soil health and water quality alongside other measures.

Their new deal for nature puts forward 80 policy recommendations in areas including national parks and other protected landscapes, farming, urban wildlife, schools & young people and biosecurity.

Among the recommendations are:

  • A new statutory nature framework to place wildlife at the heart of planning
  • A new goal to designate 20% of Britain as national parks
  • Support for farmers to devote at least 15% of their land for nature
  • One hour a day learning outdoors for all primary school children, in addition to break time
  • Re-imaging towns and cities as places for people and wildlife with pocket parks, rewilding of public land around hospitals and other public buildings and some brownfield sites to be allocated temporary SSSI status

Patrick Barkham who writes for the Guardian about natural history is one of the authors and he said: “We are one of the most nature-depleted countries on the planet and still our wildlife declines. Policies for nature are too often seen as fluffy, inconsequential green window-dressing.

“We have a moral obligation to better live alongside other species but policies for wildlife are policies for people too. Our survival depends on other species and they enrich us all, wherever we live. A New Deal for Nature offers a mix of practical and inspiring ideas to show how we can revive nature in our backyards, neighbourhoods, cities and farmland.”

Another author, Helen Smith, president of the British Archaeological Society said: “Successive governments have regarded looking after our wildlife as a luxury, and as a soft target in hard times. This neglect has to end. Whether or not you have regard for the species with which we share the planet they, collectively, form our complex and fragile life support system – and the great weight of evidence shows that this system is crumbling.

The Green Party’s document ‘new deal for nature’ was written by a group of leading UK conservationists and nature writers, Mark Cocker, Jeremy Mynott, Jake Fiennes, Helen Smith and Patrick Barkham and commissioned by Caroline Lucas.

Fareshare Sussex calls for volunteers to feed people

FareShare Sussex urgently needs volunteers to help collect food from 21 to 23 November as part of this year’s Tesco Food Collection. The charity delivers surplus food to 122 frontline charities in Sussex.

Volunteers are required next Thursday to Saturday to encourage Tesco shoppers to donate vital store cupboard essentials, such as pasta, tinned food, tea and coffee. These will be redistributed by FareShare to charities such as domestic violence refuges, lunch clubs for older people, breakfast clubs and homeless hostels.

The Tesco Food Collection is the UK’s biggest food drive and last year the public donated enough food to provide 3.5 million meals to vulnerable people across the country. Customers doing their regular food shop at Tesco will be asked to buy an extra item to donate to FareShare. Tesco also tops up all customer donations by 20 per cent.

Fareshare Sussex

Farihah Choudhury, a volunteer at the last Tesco Food Collection, said: “I loved volunteering last year – it was great to speak with shoppers donating food and the kindness I saw was wonderful. I believe everyone should have access to good, healthy food and I’d encourage anyone who can, to give some time to help stop people going hungry this Christmas.”

Mark Richardson, Fundraising and Communications Manager at FareShare Sussex, said: “Charities and community groups can struggle to keep up with demand during the cold winter months so donations are needed now more than ever to help vulnerable people.

“The Deputy Mayor of Brighton and Hove, Councillor Alan Robins, will be paying a special visit to Tesco Portslade next Friday 22 November to encourage people to donate and tell them about the work we do across Sussex.

“Volunteers play a huge role in the success of the Tesco Food Collection each year – by giving up just three hours of your time, you can make a big impact in helping more people understand the importance of donating food. The donations will help to ensure more people get a hot, nutritious meal this Christmas.”


FareShare Sussex is the region’s branch of the UK’s largest food redistribution charity. We save over 563 tonnes of good surplus food from right across the food supply chain and redistribute it to 122 charities and community groups throughout Sussex.

In 2018/19 Fareshare Sussex provided enough food for over 1,300,437 meals (worth over £963,800 to the charity sector in savings.) It was given food from 500 food companies right across the food supply chain

FareShare Sussex is part of the UK’s largest food redistribution charity, with 22 Regional Centres across the country. It takes food from the food industry that can’t be sold in shops, either because of packaging errors or a short shelf life or overproduction.

That food, which is the same as the food you’d eat at home, is then redistributed through a network of 11,000 frontline organisations, across the UK such as homeless hostels, school breakfast clubs, domestic violence refuges, older people’s lunch clubs, food banks and hospices. FareShare provides enough food to create almost a million meals for vulnerable people every week and it saved 74,171,500 kg of carbon last year.

If you have three hours to spare, why not volunteer at any Tesco across Brighton and Hove and encourage people to donate food this Christmas so that as many people as possible across the city get a warm, home cooked meal over the festive period?

Anyone interested in volunteering can find out more and sign up here.

Film Brighton presents High Water: drugs or murder?

Look out for High Water, a feature-length thriller that opens with the discovery of a young man, Jake, dead on the beach in Brighton. It’s a film, directed and co-written by Ewan Gorman who wrote and directed the Beast of Bevendean in 2014, available on Amazon Prime.

The coroner rules that Jake died because of a heroin overdose but his father, Vince Sand is not convinced. Vince is an investigative journalist who sets out to discover the truth.

High Water
Vince Sand

As he searches for answers Vince discovers an underworld in Brighton of homelessness and drug-taking and a mafia-like web of businessmen ruthlessly exploiting the ‘Street People.’ Bitter rivalry divides the drug barons. Vince’s ex-wife is married to Lockwood, who owns a restaurant and knows the drug-dealers. Is Lockwood involved and if so, how?

Mr Gorman said: “High Water is about them and us. Homelessness is normalised: people in tents and sleeping bags and the imbalance of power between renters and landlords. Homelessness is a complicated one for lots of reasons and one of those is drugs. Addiction isn’t a choice.” Vince has been away from Brighton for five years and he sees a change when he returns.  

Real life murders inspired Mr Gorman to write his screenplay because he believes films must contain some truth to be authentic. He said: “This film is based on my own experiences, the people that I know, and events that have happened here in Brighton.” For example, he said a drug addict was murdered in Portslade because he couldn’t pay £100 debt, a body was found in the woods of a Brighton golf course and another on Hove Seafront. People repeatedly stepped over a dead body in a squat before reporting it.

Expect a revenge element where Vince is pushed through anger and grief to do things he wouldn’t normally do. High Water’s central question is what is the value of human life and does every life matter or do some lives matter more than others?

Mr Gorman teaches filmmaking at the Youth Film School and Hove College. He has set up Film Brighton which is a Community Interest Company that aims to ensure more feature films are made in Brighton and Hove. High Water is shooting this month and looking for investors at the moment. It’s the first of five feature films to receive £10,000 production funding from Film Brighton to be shot here in the city.

Hove MP fights for the rights of domestic abuse victims

Last week, Hove MP Peter Kyle urged the Government to finally outlaw the cross-examination of domestic abuse victims in family courts by perpetrators. In a House of Commons debate Peter Kyle MP urged the Government to make sure the long-awaited Domestic Abuse Bill is carried over to the next Parliamentary session.

Mr Kyle said: “[Survivors of domestic abuse] have been waiting for 25 years, and indeed for much longer, but for the past three years, the Government have been promising to outlaw cross-examination by perpetrators of domestic violence.

“People have waited for so long, so will he now give a commitment that this Bill will be seen through before the House is prorogued once more? If it was not, that would be the final straw for many very vulnerable people.”

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland MP confirmed that the Bill will be carried over to the next Parliamentary session and allowed to progress.

Peter Kyle
Peter Kyle MP for Hove and Portslade

Mr Kyle has been campaigning about domestic abuse since he was first elected in 2015, when a constituent at one of his surgeries told him of her horrific experience being cross-examined. Mr Kyle spoke about this in yesterday’s debate, and stressed that there must be no further delay.

He said: “I was made very aware of the problem of cross-examination by perpetrators of domestic violence when a woman came to see me at a surgery soon after I became a Member of Parliament. She had suffered so much abuse—she had been raped multiple times, she had been knocked unconscious and she had been hospitalised more than a dozen times—but the perpetrator of those crimes, from prison, summoned her to family court on three separate occasions.

“She told me that on the third occasion she had to ask the taxi driver to stop on the way home so she could vomit in the gutter because of the experience of being cross-examined by the perpetrator of the crimes against her.

“She told me that if she was summoned a fourth time, she would capitulate and give him whatever he wanted. She was broken, not just by the criminal who raped and abused her, but by the system that allowed her to be cross-examined by him, and that allowed the abuse to continue under the nose of judges, and in front of police—the very people the state appoints to support and protect women like her.”

Mr Kyle also pointed out that almost three years have passed since the Government first committed to outlawing cross-examination.  

In response to his urgent question, he said: “After a huge campaign, both from Members from across the House and in the media, the Government finally gave way and agreed to make a change. I credit Mr Speaker with granting me an urgent question on the subject in January 2017, almost three years ago, at which the Government relented for the first time and promised to change the law.

Sir Oliver Heald, then Minister for Courts and Justice, said in reply: “This sort of cross-examination is illegal in the criminal courts, and I am determined to see it banned in family courts, too. Work is being done at a great pace…the urgency is there.”

Mr Kyle said: “That is important. The woman I mentioned cried with joy at the news that there would be a change. In her words, she felt liberated; a weight had been lifted from her shoulders.

“However, we must recognise the scale of the suffering that there has been since the Government gave that commitment almost three years ago. While we celebrate the Bill finally bring brought in, there has been much suffering as a result of the delays.”

The full debate can be found here.

My article was first published in Brighton and Hove News.

Brighton MP launches first Green New Deal Bill for UK

As thousands gather for what is expected to be the UK’s biggest climate demonstration yet, MPs Caroline Lucas and Clive Lewis are launching the first legislative attempt to introduce a Green New Deal Bill in Parliament.  

According to the Green Party, the Bill aims to transform the infrastructure of our society and at the same time fix an economic model that continues to fail the majority of people, as well as to destroy the planet.  

It’s also a response to the top demand of the climate strikers and is being launched today to show that at least some politicians are listening and have a plan of action to meet the scale of the crisis. It addresses the climate crisis, accelerating biodiversity loss, the unsustainability of our current farming methods and the destructive inequality in our society.

Brighton Pavilion’s MP, Caroline Lucas said: “The young climate strikers on the streets today don’t just want climate action, they want a Green New Deal that delivers for everyone.

“If we are to mend our broken democracy and give people hope for their future, we must invest in an economy where we live sustainably, differently and more equally.

“We know this is possible. We know it’s essential. Our system is in crisis and faces an environmental and political breakdown. Our Green New Deal Bill, launched this morning, sets out an action plan. When parliament returns, we will be doing everything we can to make it happen.”

Green New Deal
Brighton’s Green MP Caroline Lucas

The key aims of the Bill are to:

  1. Introduce legally-binding targets to cut emissions, reverse inequality and turn around the degradation of our environment, year-on-year to 2030. After 2030 Greens will maintain a zero carbon economy.
  2. Change the way the Government manages the economy to enable extensive public and private investment in a Green New Deal.
  3. Appoint a Green New Deal Commission to draw up a comprehensive action plan to transform our energy supply, transport system, farming, buildings and the way we work.

The bill includes measures to:

  1. Take back control from the markets to open-up opportunities for public-led investment in the Green New Deal.
  2. Make sure that the government, Treasury, Bank of England and the Debt Management Office cooperate so that the funding required for the Green New Deal will be available at the lowest possible price for society.
  3. End our fixation with growth and prioritise new measures that help guide us towards improvement in people’s health and well-being, the reduction of inequality, tackling the climate emergency, and the restoration and protection of the natural environment.
  4. Redistribute democratic power and resources to devolved government and elected mayors, including the power to raise their own green bonds.
  5. Guarantee climate justice, by ensuring investment across the UK, with a particular focus on de-industrialised areas and the many communities who have been excluded from full participation in the economy and society.
  6. Transform our energy supply and transport systems, eliminating greenhouse gas emissions and reducing air pollution.
  7. Make housing energy-efficient, ensuring all new homes are zero-carbon and meet social need.
  8. Decarbonise our farming, reducing the ecological damage caused by current methods and improving our food system.
  9. Promote global justice by ensuring finance and technology for the global south, and by promoting the Green New Deal approach worldwide.

A report, The Green New Deal: A Bill to make it happen, by the Green New Deal Group – of which the MP Caroline Lucas is a member – accompanies the publication of the Bill.

The Decarbonisation and Economic Strategy Bill was first set down by Caroline Lucas MP and Clive Lewis MP in March 2019 and tabled in full just before Parliament was prorogued.

An explanatory note to the Bill, produced by the Green New Deal Group is available at: with the fifth report of the Green New Deal Group: The Green New Deal: A Bill to make it happen.

This article is also published in Brighton and Hove News.

Greens and Lib Dems back Labour talks to stop ‘no deal’ Brexit

Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, has accepted Jeremy Corbyn’s invitation to a meeting next week (Tuesday is likely) to discuss tactics for avoiding a no deal.

She said: “A no deal Brexit would be a disaster for this country and Parliament must prevent it in any way possible.  Jeremy Corbyn has done the right thing by reaching out to colleagues and I welcome the fact that all the opposition parties in the House of Commons have accepted his invitation for discussions. 

“I would urge all MPs who have been approached and who recognise the danger this country faces to join these talks with an open mind.  We all need to put our country’s future first.

“That means either pursuing legislative measures or a vote of no confidence in a Boris Johnson government which is showing every intention of driving this country off the edge of a cliff, and replacing it with a caretaker government which is committed to giving the people the right to decide on the Brexit deal.  

“I am prepared to support Jeremy Corbyn as leader of this caretaker government, as should any MP who wants to stop a No Deal Brexit. 

“But if he cannot gain the support of a sufficient number of colleagues across Parliament, I hope he will be prepared to back another MP from his party, or another, who can.   I will ask him again to make his position clear in our discussions next week.“I will also continue to make the case that we need a People’s Vote before a general election, as the only certain way of ensuring that the British people have the final say on Brexit.”

no deal

Hove MP, Peter Kyle, led a very strong campaign against a no deal Brexit in Parliament alongside his Labour colleagues which resulted in the extension to Brexit we have at the moment.

He said: “At this eleventh hour MPs must come together to fight the disaster of a no deal Brexit, which we all know would have unimaginable consequences for our communities and for the country.

“Boris Johnson’s extreme Brexit will damage local jobs, local tourism and opportunities for our young people. So every option must now be on the table, and I’m completely confident that if we work together, Parliament can and will block this impending catastrophe.”

As things stand we should be leaving the European Union on 31 October unless the opposition can unite and find an alternative solution.

Jo Swinson will be representing the Liberal Democrats at Mr Corbyn’s tactics meeting. In replying to his letter she wrote suggesting that the Labour plan to make the Labour leader head of an ‘interim’ government is “not viable.” Mrs Swinson would prefer Harriet Harman or Ken Clarke to lead a caretaker government and steer the country through this crisis.

However, she said: “in this moment of national emergency, I stand ready to work with anyone to stop Boris Johnson and his hard-line Brexit government if it is brought before the House of Commons.

“I am ambitious for the Liberal Democrats, as you are for the Labour Party, but we are facing a national crisis and we may we need an emergency government to resolve it.”

“This isn’t the time for personal agendas and political games. We cannot allow party politics to stand in the way of Members from all sides of the House of Commons working together in the national interest.

“What matters right now is a plan that works and will stop a No Deal Breit.”

Beatrice Bass, Parliamentary Candidate for the Lib Dems in Hove said: “The Lib Dems are the strongest and biggest remain party and will do anything we can to stop Brexit. The coming weeks are going to be crucial and will decide the direction the UK is taking.

“I am glad that our leader, Jo Swinson, is working hard towards cross-party collaboration to find a workable and viable solution. This isn’t the time for personal agendas and political games.”

Nationalist parties, the SNP and Plaid Cymru will also be at the tactics meeting next week. Opposition from Scotland could be key to taking a no deal Brexit off the table for good.

An edited version of this article was published on Brighton and Hove News today.

Boris champions a no deal Brexit at his peril

It feels as if the media has talked and written about nothing else apart from a no deal Brexit all summer. The coverage leaves me asking the question, is the media unwittingly making this outcome more likely and the public more receptive to a no deal Brexit? Is there a fatalism and inevitability creeping in since Boris Johnson, arch Brexiteer and Leave Campaign stalwart, took office?

Clearly there continue to be daily warnings from economists about the impact of a no deal Brexit on the pound. Sterling is tumbling in the markets and may soon be valued at the same price as the dollar. Philip Hammond quotes an OBR forecast of a recession if Britain crashes out of the EU without a deal. Mr Hammond is concerned about Sterling and concerned about the impact on public services. He resigned from the government in protest when Mr Johnson became PM.

I think the best journalists should be poring over the withdrawal agreement terms and seeking to help Mr Johnson find the substance of a deal that will be acceptable to Europe. Mr Johnson says repeatedly that the Irish backstop must be abolished all together to allow Britain to support a deal. EU leaders do not want to do this because they need to protect the position of the Republic of Ireland within the EU.

Sinn Fein is calling for a united Ireland. The long-standing alliance between DUP and the Conservatives makes these negotiations very difficult. Mr Johnson says he is impartial, but is he? It seems he really wants Brexit for England and Northern Ireland and would rather throw off the thorn that is the Republic of Ireland and ignore the dissent in Scotland.

Mr Johnson needs to be build consensus across the union but does he have the will and commitment to do it and the vision to find a deal that is acceptable to everyone? Will he enlist the help of Ruth Davidson and will he negotiate with Sinn Fein?

Sinn Fein are talking about holding another referendum in Ireland in an attempt to win independence and reunite Ireland. There is provision for this in the Good Friday Agreement. As PM, Mr Johnson should look beyond the interests of Brexiteers to find a solution that satisfies all the far flung corners of the union. Brexit is threatening to break up the union. Mr Johnson’s position as Prime Minister and legacy will be secure if he can find a solution that Parliament will pass. 

Irish backstop

In order to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland, the backstop would keep Northern Ireland aligned with the EU single market. This means that goods coming into Northern Ireland from elsewhere in the UK would need to be checked to see if they meet EU standards.

It would also involve a temporary single custom territory, effectively keeping the whole of the UK in the EU customs union.

These arrangements would apply unless and until both the EU and UK agree they are no longer necessary.

Attorney General, Geoffrey Cox, concluded that “the legal risk remains unchanged” that if a post-Brexit trade agreement cannot be reached due to genuinely “intractable differences”, the UK would have “no internationally lawful means” of leaving the backstop without EU agreement.

This temporary “backstop” is meant to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland only kicking in if alternative customs arrangements can’t be negotiated and implemented in time for the end of the transition period in December 2020.

The EU’s version would see Northern Ireland stay in the EU customs union, meaning a customs border in the Irish Sea.

Muslims: “Whosoever kills a person, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind.”

Unfortunately, people currently associate Muslims with terrorism. It’s not a new phenomenon. The Irish had the same problem in the 1980s. And Muslims are blamed for terrorism at the moment more than any other group.

‘Love for all, hatred for none’ is the Ahmadi motto and central tenet of their faith. Ahmadi Muslims swear allegiance annually to their faith, their Caliph who is their worldwide leader and to the country in which they live now, not their country of origin. They are pillars of the communities where they live and as yet, no Ahmadi Muslim has ever been tried or convicted of terrorism charges.

Pledge of allegiance to the Ahmadi faith, the Caliph and the UK

Their central challenge is how they turn around perceptions about Islam, not least perceptions in the media. As several people remarked over the Jalsa Salana, if a white person massacres people, his background is immediately investigated. If a Muslim does the same, the media think terrorism first.

The media don’t always call out white perpetrators as racist and they have protection if they suffer from schizophrenia or another mental health condition. I don’t recall hearing about the background of Muslim terrorists, only their deadly intent and how they were radicalised.

I caught up with the Ahmadi Muslims at their annual convention which is known as the Jalsa Salana. It takes place at Oaklands Farm, Alton in Hampshire. 38,000 Ahmadis flock from all over the world and 5000 of them serve as volunteers to ensure the smooth running of the event. It’s an example of the Ahmadis commitment to service. But it doesn’t stop there.

They hold an annual walk for peace in every region of the UK raising money for the Poppy Appeal and British Heart Foundation as well as much smaller local charities. Non-Ahmadis are invited to participate and there is no joining fee. As a community, the Ahmadis are inclusive and outward looking.

Humanity First enables the Ahmadis to travel the globe and provide disaster relief. A lot of the doctors give up their annual leave to travel at short notice and help when disasters strike. A team went to the Tsunami and are active in many parts of the world reaching out to people of many faiths and none. Humanity First is a disaster relief charity set up by Ahmadis but operated independently and “serving all of mankind” (their motto). 

Ahmadiyya Press team, Ismael, Atif Malik with Roz Scott

Guests at the Jalsa said they were impressed by the Ahmadis because they put their faith into action, they walk their faith. They demonstrate God’s love through charitable works and humanitarian aid and let this love speak for itself.

It’s not commonly known that the root of the word Islam means peace. Ahmadis preach and live this message of peace led by their Caliph, Mirza Masroor Ahmad. Declan Henry believes the Caliph’s leadership is one reason that this community is so strong and peaceful. Mr Henry is a writer and social worker who has written a book called voices of modern Islam. Mr Henry is an Irish Catholic but he thinks it is worse to be a Muslim at the moment because they can be targeted and face discrimination.

Mr Henry believes other Muslims distrust the Ahmadis because of theological differences about whether the Messiah has arrived or is yet to come and he said many sects of Islam lack true leadership. He said: “Other Muslims envy the Ahmadis who have the Caliph, a holy and honourable man. The Ahmadis are the most integrated of Muslims in the UK.”

Set up after the Paris attacks, Ahmadis have led the campaign ‘United Against Extremism’ that counters the rhetoric and ideology of terrorism. They quote from the Qu’ran for their inspiration: “Whosoever kills a person, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind.” (5:33)

Ahmadis come to Hampshire in force for their annual Jalsa Salana

At Oaklands Farm in Hampshire last weekend over 39,000 Ahmadi Muslims from 155 countries met for their annual convention , the ‘Jalsa Salana.’ 355 new mosques have been built including one in Tilford. The reported reach of the event coverage was 59.3million in TV, radio, print and online.    

David Harmer, County Councillor for Waverley Western Villages in Surrey said: “If the rest of the country was as well organised as the Jalsa is every year, we wouldn’t have any problems.” Mr Harmer said he was fascinated by the motto, ‘Love for all, hatred for none’ and even more impressed that the Ahmadis live to it. All members of the Ahmadiyya Community pledge allegiance to their faith, the Caliph and to the country where they live.

Councillor David Harmer, Waverley Western Villages with Roz Scott, journalist

It’s important to notice, they pledge allegiance to the country they live in, not their country of origin. In my experience, Ahmadi Muslims speak impeccable English and contribute significantly to Britain’s net worth and GDP. Their faith requires them to integrate into the very fabric of British society and to become pillars of the communities they live in.

An example of this is when the Ahmadiyya Community built their mosque in Morden they were committed to open communication. Councillor Peter Southgate of Merton said they ‘anticipated planning resistance but the mosque is a force for good. The impact on the ward and the social cohesion is very positive. There are new businesses in the Morden area. Without the Ahmadis, the retail units would be empty.”

Doing charitable work is central to the faith of the Ahmadis. Doctor Chaudhury Ljaz Rehman is the President of the UK Ahmadiyya Muslim Elders Association: “There’s an ethos to our charitable work. Every year we support the Poppy Appeal and British Heart Foundation.

“We have a national walk for peace in every region of the UK every year. Schools are asked to join in. We don’t charge an admin fee. Religion teaches us to serve people regardless of creed, colour or religion. The British are a charitable nation, we want to do the same. The world needs more people committed to charitable work based on their faith in God. Without God, the work is rarely sustainable.”

Sue Carter, Mayor of Rushmoor, said she had never heard of the Ahmadis until she became Mayor. She said: “As soon as a bomb goes off, it’s all news and then we dissect it.” She works with a lot of young people including ex-gang leaders to help them transform their communities and said: “Life changes, sometimes it’s a struggle but you can get through it.”

Councillor Sue Carter, Mayor of Rushmoor with Colonel James Sunderland

Councillor Richard Billington, Mayor of Guilford, said: “It’s almost bewildering in its scale, the scale of the operation, the attraction of the Ahmadis is worldwide. The problem is press presentation. They tend to write about the bombs and the bullets, you don’t hear about the gentle, charitable work. It breaks the hearts of the Ahmadis. They are polite, kind, Westernised but in a slightly Islamic way.

“I worry that some immigrant communities are not as confident of themselves to integrate but the Ahmadis are confident. They integrate without feeling they are losing their identity.”

While visiting the Surrey Police stall I recognised this drive to integrate while speaking to Farhan Hayat, an Ahmadi Muslim. He explained his role as a Positive Action manager in Surrey Police and appealed to others from under-represented groups to join the force. Reflecting on his visit to the Jalsa Salana, Robin Perry who is a Councillor in Camberley was “fascinated” by his visit. “It was a real education,” he said, “In the SE of England people are reserved and share the same sense of humour as the Ahmadis.”

Colonel James Sunderland is head of Army Engagement. He travels the country talking about the work of the army and promoting collaboration. He said: “The Ahmadis are warm, hospitable, they care about the communities where they live. What’s nice about the Ahmadi community, they are always reaching out. I am always made to feel very welcome. They are apolitical just like the army. They are interested in family and shared values. I wear my uniform for a reason, it’s important to extend the hand of friendship.”

Wang Jen Zhen likes the Ahmadiyya Community because of the learning the community affords. She said: “The Jalsa is brilliantly organised. Brilliant exhibition. I like the fact you just learn a lot. I am there to learn about people’s beliefs.”

Dignitaries have come to the Jalsa from across the world, King Yahaya Abubakar Etsu Nupe is the King of Niger State in Nigeria. He said: “Love, peace, unity, this is the best thing.” He likes the Ahmadis because they build schools and hospitals and try to help people.

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