The crucial votes of Paul Elgood and David Watkins in today’s Brighton and Hove Budget vote

‘Clive’ is right. He said that my comment yesterday, in respect of the Labour/Green Alternative Budget, that the Lib Dems were “floundering somewhere in the middle” is “just lazy. It a) ignores the political reality of the last ten years, pre May 2010 anyway, and b) ignores the important point that Paul Elgood’s vote is pretty crucial on this budget and the amendments, as is that of the former Lib Dem, David Watkins.” Fair points, all. Their votes are important, and yes, it was a sloppy comment by me. Usually I try to provide a better analysis, particularly in regard to the Lib Dems, as well as Labour, Greens and the Tories. (I trust I will be given some blogging licence when it comes to UKIP and the Estate Agents in the Tory Party!).

Today’s budget vote is fascinating. Of the 54 councillors, the Tories are down to 25 councillors following the untimely death of Hangleton and Knoll councillor David Smart, there are 13 Labour councillors, 13 Greens, one Lib Dem and one Independent (following David Watkins resignation of the Lib Dem whip), with one seat vacant.

Assuming that all 53 councillors are present, Labour and the Greens voting together would outvote the Tories if Elgood and Watkins abstain. If either votes with the Tories, and the other abstains, the Tory budget will be carried one the casting vote of the Tory mayor, Geoff Wells. What is most likely, though, is that one or both will vote with Labour and the Greens. I agree with Clive that it is most likely that Paul Elgood will vote for the Alternative Budget. To vote against would be political suicide. Paul has an uphill battle to retain his Brunswick and Adelaide seat. He hardly wants to be defeated AND become known as Hove’s Nick Clegg!

I understand that you can watch the Budget debate on the internet now that the public gallery has been cleared. Did you see me in the Public Gallery? …… I was the one with the red bow tie, glasses, scraggly hair wearing no more than a sheet and a smile!

6 Responses

  1. That’s why the webstream went off, then…

  2. I went along and watched it in the overspill telly room, where the comments were perhaps livelier, but unheard, than in the public gallery.

    I was struck by Pat Hawkes’s comment that Ayas Fallon-Khan’s language was not suitable for seven thirty. Do Councillors go all out for the Tarantino mode after eight?

    It was not quite clear but, after one break, it appeared as if Mary Mears was apologising to the public gallery for something she’d said.

    Anyway, something that may have been missed is the way that David Watkins, now an Independent, referred to Labour and Greens as the “opposition parties”. A neat dig at his former colleague, Elgood…

  3. I think Mary Mears was appologising for something that one of the conservatives said to the protesters.

    According to Twitter she said they didn’t pay council tax…

    • That’s right – Linda Hyde accused the protesters of not being council tax payers – in effect, accusing anyone who disagrees with the Tory cuts as being a good for nothing bunch of layabouts. I spent some time during that adjournement negotiating for the protestors to be allowed to stay, and insisted that an apology be issued in public for the appalling disrespect shown by the tories. Both were done, but I have to say that the apology was hardly very gracious, and I’m surprised that more ‘unrest’ didn’t ensue after that.

      Also worth noting that I intervened in another tory assault on protestors (not in the council chamber) when one of the cabinet members sneeringly referred to them as ‘Rent-a-Mob’. Such contempt, they really are beyond the pale.

  4. Are you always in the public gallery? Dear God, you’re not Mr Scott are you??????

  5. RBS’s top nine executives are paid the same amount in bonuses as the Council is cutting from public services next year.

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