Brighton & Hove City Council leader Warren Morgan (Lab) is to step down in May, with reports he has been forced out by left-wing members of his local party.
Cllr Morgan announced his departure in a blog post yesterday, saying he would not seek re-election as leader in April after consulting with fellow councillors.
He said: “It has been the privilege of my life to have been given the opportunity to serve as leader of the place where I was born and which I call home. However, that time must now come to an end.
“Having spoken to colleagues over recent months I have now taken the decision to continue to serve as Leader until annual council in May, but not seek re-election at the Labour & Co-operative group annual general meeting in April.”
Cllr Morgan, who has been leader since Labour took minority control of the council in 2015 from the Green Party, did not provide specific details on the reason for his departure.
The Times reported Cllr Morgan had been involved in a number of clashes with left-wing members on a number of issues in recent months, while LGC understands the council leadership has been under pressure from local party members affiliated to campaign group Momentum.
Continuining his blog post Cllr Morgan said: “Despite the enormous financial and infrastructure challenges facing the city council, leading it has been a role I have enjoyed and found hugely rewarding, even in only being able to achieve a fraction of what I would have wished to.”
He paid tribute to friends, councillors and officers, adding: “Together I believe we have achieved an enormous amount under near impossible circumstances given the funding, housing and political pressures we face.”
Cllr Morgan said his administration had “steadied” the council’s finances with a four-year plan.
He added: “I made it a priority for the Labour administration, on taking office in 2015, to tackle the city’s housing crisis.
“It is not easy, but we have succeeded in completing more new council homes in one year than at any time in the last thirty, and an innovative new partnership project to deliver a thousand homes affordable on the National Living Wage is about to begin.”
Last month Haringey LBC leader Claire Kober (Lab) announced she will step down at this May’s election, citing intimidation from members of campaign group Momentum over a public-private regeneration vehicle.
Days later Harlow DC leader John Clempner stepped down and resigned from the Labour Party, claiming he had been forced out by Momentum.