Green surge sees council move to no overall control
Labour has lost overall control of Bristol City Council as a “Green surge” saw the party’s new main rivals more than double their seats.
Both groups now have 24 councillors, with Labour losing nine members at the local elections, which were declared on May 9, and the Greens gaining 13, while the Conservatives remained on 14 and the Lib Dems lost one to leave them on eight.
Notable casualties included two Labour cabinet members – Kye Dudd and Afzal Shah – who both lost their seats on a disappointing day for the local authority’s former ruling group.
Lib Dem deputy group leader and Cotham ward Cllr Anthony Negus, deputy lord mayor and Ashley ward Labour Cllr Carole Johnson and ex-cabinet member and Horfield Tory Cllr Claire Hiscott, also lost their seats as the council saw a huge shake-up.
Conservative councillors Geoff Gollop and Steve Smith, standing for re-election in Westbury-on-Trym and Henleaze ward were elected and will be joined by newly-elected Sharon Scott, also standing for the Conservatives.
Among the new members elected is 18-year-old Lily Fitzgibbon, the youngest candidate standing at the polls, who took one of the two seats for the Greens in Bishopston & Ashley Down.
Attention will now turn to Bristol mayor Marvin Rees, who was sworn into office for a second term on May 10, and whether he will now have to revert to a rainbow cabinet of cross-party councillors, which he axed during his first term in office.
Long-serving councillor Negus, who lost his Cotham seat in one of the many Green gains, said voters had decided to “vote for a colour” but added that his party would be back because people understood the Lib Dems were committed to free speech and liberalism.
Conservative group leader Mark Weston, re-elected in Henbury and Brentry, said: “It’s been a strange campaign – we couldn’t knock on doors until March 8.
“To have such a resounding result, such a firm mandate, we’re delighted. Work carries on tomorrow.”
“It’s going to be a very different council. I don’t think Labour will have the majority.
“Maybe the mayor will have to moderate that autocracy he loves so much.”
By Amanda Cameron, Local Democracy Reporter