Greens want ‘significant role’ in the new council
Jonathan Bartley, co-leader of the Green Party, joins new councillors at City Hall
The Green Party wants a “significant role” influencing major policy decisions in Bristol after a ‘Green surge’ at the polls.
Lockleaze councillor Heather Mack, who was among a large crop of new Green councillors sworn in at City Hall on May 10, said a new power-sharing arrangement at the local authority was needed to reflect the results of last week’s local elections.
In a historic election result the Green Party made 13 gains in Bristol, more than doubling their number of councillors from 11 to 24. It also won the popular city vote polling 31.8% of all votes cast, gaining seats in wards not typically considered Green heartlands such as Lockleaze, Lawrence Hill and Bedminster.
Across Bristol, voters chose 24 Labour councillors, 24 Green councillors, 14 Conservatives and eight Liberal Democrats, ending Labour’s dominance of Bristol City Council.
All four wards covered by the Bishopston Voice returned Green Party councillors which means the whole of the three ward BCR Community Partnership area is now represented by Green councillors, while Ashley ward has two Greens and a Labour councillor.
Martin Fodor and Fi Hance were re-elected representing the Green Party in Redland ward where the turnout was 56 per cent, giving them both majorities of over 1,450 votes.
Martin said: “We’re proud and honoured to be local representatives on the council until 2024. The fact people all over the ward know our names and have been thanking us for our hard work, the help and support, and being active on their behalf over the years is truly rewarding.
“There were very long queues at some locations, notably Bishopston Library, partly in response to the high turnout at a double polling station plus the precautions due to Covid. We’ll be feeding back suggestions about how this site can be managed better and whether two polling stations are best located by a busy shopping street and bus stop on a narrow pavement next to constant traffic. We’re sorry some people appear to have turned away because of the long queues.”
The youngest councillor elected to office in Bristol is 18-year old Lily Fitzgibbon, who represents Bishopston and Ashley Down along with Emma Edwards. Lily said: “Voters here care about social and environmental justice and they trust Greens to deliver this. I’m so excited that local people have supported us and we will do everything we can to repay the faith that you have shown.”
Cllr Jude English retained a seat for the Green Party in Ashley ward and is joined by fellow Green Tim Wye and Labour’s Amirah Cole.
“There’s a lot to do in Ashley,” said Tim. “It’s been an underlooked ward. And we need to get the same kind of investment and response we get in other areas and really speak up. And I’ll be working with both my local councillors to do exactly that.”
Longstanding councillor for Cotham Anthony Negus (Lib Dem) lost his seat. The ward's new Green Party councillors are Mohamed Makawi and Guy Poultney. Cllr Makawi said he was looking forward to serving the residents of Cotham, fighting for Cotham’s parks, for improved public transport, for businesses, and to turn Chandos Road into a Liveable Neighbourhood.
Labour mayor Marvin Rees, who beat the Green candidate Sandy Hore-Ruthven by more than 13,613 votes to be re-elected, must appoint a new cabinet by May 25, the date of the first full council meeting in the new municipal cycle.
Mr Rees has already re-appointed four members of his previous Labour-only cabinet and is expected to announce more names later this week.
Including Mr Rees, the cabinet will have ten members altogether. At full council, where Mr Rees has a vote, the Labour group now has 25 votes from 71, where just before the election it had 34.