Greens lose control of Brighton despite victory for Caroline Lucas

Internal strife and controversial policies cost the party the council as they are pushed into third place

The Greens have lost control of their only council despite returning Caroline Lucas to Westminster.

In local election results announced yesterday, Labour grabbed control of Brighton & Hove council after five years of Green rule.

Ms Lucas, Brighton’s popular Green MP, was re-elected with an impressive 10.5 per cent swing in her favour, mostly from disaffected Lib Dems.

But that wasn’t enough to save her council which was reduced to a rump of 11 seats, down from 23 in 2011, after coming an embarrassing third in the poll behind the Conservatives.

The council has come under fire for mismanagement after it became notorious for having “one of the worst recycling rates in the country”, according to the Brighton Argus.

Its recycling rates slipped to 25.8 per cent despite an election promise that the rate would by 70 per cent by May 2015.

Writing in the Spectator last year,Tim Stanley said the party was “turning the town into a laboratory for their kooky ideas” and said he was “staggered” to discover he faced an up to £50,000 fine for putting plastic in the paper recycling.

He said this is the reason why most people have simply given up on it.

Other failures included a proposed referendum 4.75 per cent to maintain services as the Coalition cuts started to bit. When it was pointed out this vote in itself would cost nearly a £1m it was quickly shelved. There were similar U-turns on initiatives such as ‘meat-free Mondays’ in council run canteens and gender neutral toilets.

Faced with strikes by bin men and an angry electorate, the Green party has been riven with internal disputes.

The Green leader, Jason Kitcat, said he faced many attempts to oust him and stood down at this election, the FT reported in January.

Commenting on their victory, the new leader of the council, Warren Morgan tweeted:

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