Hastings Council leadership leaves Labour Party to become independents Brighton News

Hastings Borough Council leader Paul Barnett is one of the councillors who have left the party and will now sit as independents.

The councillors say they will now “concentrate on standing up for Hastings” but the Labour Party has called for the six councillors to resign.

Cllr Barnett is leading the new group alongside Hastings Borough Council deputy leader Maya Evans. Cabinet members Andy Batsford, John Cannan, Ali Roark and Simon Willis have also left the party.

In a statement, the councillors said: “After long and careful consideration we have made the difficult decision to leave the Labour Party and become independent councillors.

“There are many reasons but our view is that standing up for Hastings, and especially for our residents, will be much easier as independents.

“The national Labour Party is no longer providing us with the policies, the support of the focus on local government that we need given the many local issues we are committed to tackling.

“We will now concentrate on standing up for Hastings, to work in partnership with all those who are passionate to drive our town forward, and our work in our communities which is why we all became councillors.”

The decision means that Labour are no longer the largest party in the council dropping from 15 councillors to nine.

The Conservative Party is now the largest party with 11 seats.

Hastings Borough Council is facing bankruptcy in 2024 with worries about soaring costs due to tackling homelessness.

As of March this year, the council had £4.8 million in its reserve, £1.2 million below its agreed minimum of £6 million.

A report from the Local Government Authority has now said that “unless urgent action” is taken, all of the council’s general fund reserve will be used by March next year.

A Labour spokesman said: “With Keir Starmer as Leader, the Labour Party has changed fundamentally.

“The fact that these councillors, all holdouts from the previous regime, no longer feel the Labour Party is their home is conclusive proof of that.

“Their performative gesture politics has driven the council to the brink of bankruptcy and as a result they had effectively been placed in special measures.

“We call upon them now to do the honourable thing and step down immediately, and allow the hardworking people of Hastings the chance to elect councillors who will put Hastings first.”

More about this article: Read More
This notice was published: 2023-12-15 13:00:00

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *