George Grant, a former foreign correspondent and think tank analyst, on the dispute between a Green MP and a Green Council. Follow George on Twitter
There’s trouble afoot down in Brighton, the super-lefty slice of England that’s home to the country’s only Green-led council and its only Green MP. The row has largely passed below the radar of the mainstream media, but it highlights a much bigger issue that merits more attention.
Several months ago Brighton & Hove council announced plans to overhaul special allowances paid to its workforce, a fancy way of saying it wanted to reduce the pay bill. About 6,000 council employees will be affected under the scheme, with union bosses claiming that around 1,000 staff are in line to lose as much as £4,000 a year.
The council says the move is necessary to prevent layoffs in light of the need to curb public spending.
Enter stage-left Caroline Lucas, the Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion, who has denounced the plans as “unacceptable” and made clear her “opposition to any cuts in take-home pay”.
Bolstered by a local party vote last Tuesday evening to condemn the offer and express “dismay that responsibility for the pay negotiations was handed to council officers”, Lucas has now pledged to join striking workers on the picket lines… against her own council.