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BRIGHTON - LABOUR CONCEDES REFERENDUM DATE

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Brighton & Hove Council's ruling Labour group has been forced to make an embarrassing climb down over the date of a...
Brighton & Hove Council's ruling Labour group has been forced to make an embarrassing climb down over the date of a referendum on whether the city should have a directly elected mayor.
Last week a combination of Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Greens and Labour rebels overturned plans to hold a referendum on 3 May, to coincide with a general election (LGC, 23 February).
But in a letter to councillors after the bad-tempered debate, leader Lynette Gwyn-Jones said there was no option but to hold a referendum on that date.
'The proposed referendum date of 3 May clearly aims to maximise turnout and minimise costs. Surely, as democratically elected public servants, these ought to be two articles of faith in guiding our decision making,' she said.
Now, the Labour group has decided to put the date back to October so they have a better chance of reaching agreement, a council spokesman said.
'The referendum date is being put back to October and the day they're aiming for is the 18th. This will still have to be agreed by council,' he said.
Geoffrey Theobald, leader of the Conservative group on the council, said he had opposed the May referendum, which the Labour administration had hoped would be the first in the country, because it was too soon: 'It was being bulldozed and rushed through.'
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