Craig Turton: sadness at his resignation as a councillor due to health problems

It was with great sadness that I heard this evening that councillor Craig Turton has been forced to sign his council seat due to ill health. Councillor Turton has been one third of the most formidable team of Labour ward councillors, serving the East Brighton ward with colleagues Gill Mitchell and Warren Morgan.

In a statement, Craig said: “It has been a privilege to have represented the East Brighton ward since 2003 and to have served the people of the Bristol Estate, Craven Vale, Kemp Town, Manor Farm and Whitehawk alongside my dedicated Labour colleagues, Councillors Gill Mitchell and Warren Morgan.

“I have been particularly proud to have served as the chair of the Royal Sussex County Hospital Liaison Group and to have played a part in working with the trust and local residents to see the 3Ts planning application approved.

“I would like to thank all my colleagues, officers at the council, but most importantly the residents of my ward for their continued support during this difficult time.”

Of course it is tragic that any councillor has to stand down in such circumstances, and I am sure all readers will join with me in wishing Craig all the best for the future and hopefully a return to full health.

For Labour, the by-election that will follow Craig’s resignation is the one silver lining on an otherwise cloudy horizon. Labour will comfortably hold the seat. This is down to three factors:

1. Craig’s personal popularity and the circumstances leading to the by-election.

2. The excellent reputation of the other ward councillors in East Brighton.

3. Where we are in the political cycle. Labour is best placed to capitalise on the mid-term unpopularity of the Coalition government and the Green city council.

Few will have much appetite for this by-election so turn out is likely to be low.
Hopefully Labour will select a candidate who will add quality to the Labour Group, as Graham Cox has done for the Tories. The Labour Group is not blessed by an abundance of talent. It needs to select a candidate who can do justice to Craig’s legacy and who can make an impact on the Council.

But this evening, our thoughts and best wishes should be with Craig, a well respected and popular councillor across the Council Chamber.

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4 Responses

  1. I saw Craig for the first time in a while on sunny Wednesday afternoon, when I came out of Hove Town Hall with the Council lawyer after an eight-hour Planning appeal – and, blinking in the sunlight, I was surprised, delighted to see him on Norton Road. I assumed that this heralded his return. So I was all the more saddened this afternoon to hear that he is leaving.

    I first spoke with Craig after he said that he had enjoyed the Argus letter in which I adroitly cited Bob Dylan’s apparent enthusiasm for Hove Library in his great memoir Chronicles. We have since discussed in the same breath, several times, Bob/Hove & Brighton Council.

    Craig is able to blend concern with great humour, as does Bob Dylan, who himself came through a similar health fright to a glorious period.

    Not that I should have wanted to hear Craig sing in the Council chamber (though that could perhaps have been preferable to the sounds from other quarters).

  2. Craig was elected at the same time as me in 2003. Over the past nine years he has been a tenacious caseworker on behalf of the people we work for in East Brighton, and an informed and able contributor to council debates on many issues but in particular his area of expertise, health. More than that he has been a good colleague and friend and I will miss working with him very much.

    I’ve no doubt that East Brighton Labour members will choose an equally able candidate to replace him from an increasingly strong field of potential councillors. We will take nothing for granted in the by-election campaign and will be out listening to and speaking with residents in Kemp Town, Whitehawk, Manor Farm and Craven Vale persuading them that they will be best served by the election of another Labour and Co-operative councillor.

  3. I’m sorry to hear that Craig is going and wish him all the best health-wise. I hope he might continue to post on here, because he’s always frank and interesting.

  4. Not every politician is there for the right reason. Craig was, and with real passion and commitment. As someone, myself, with serious constraints on what I can physically do, I imagine he will be quite frustrated and more than downhearted at having to remove himself….to have to cut the garment according to the cloth. He will still have a role within his party. I’ve no doubt of that.

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