Labour Councillors in Bristol have elected Councillor Helen Holland as the party's new leader.
Cllr Holland who has represented Whitchurch Park for the last 21 years replaces councillor Peter Hammond who resigned in November 2012 after his party rejected the offer from George Ferguson of seats in his new council cabinet. A decision that left Bristol's new Mayor 'bemused'.
Following the announcement Cllr Holland said:
Some might say I've been here before, but the independent Mayor has changed the context and political landscape of Bristol and so this job represents a very different challenge. There's an opportunity here for a new start. Labour's candidates in May will be working in this new environment, and we can learn from them. I relish working on this campaign - which is one where we hope to do well if the national trend is reflected here.
Bristol's newly-elected Mayor has appealed to Labour councillors to take up his offer of seats on the city's cabinet.
George Ferguson wants to spread the top jobs among each of the main parties, but Labour's National Executive overruled a local decision to do so and has told Councillors aligned with the party not to join in.
Following Labour's decision not to join George Ferguson's all-party coalition cabinet, the leader of the party in Bristol has resigned.Read the full story ›
Announcing his resignation, the leader of the Labour party in Bristol, Peter Hammond said:
Earlier today (Sunday) the Labour Party announced that they were not prepared to endorse a proposal from Bristol’s Labour councillors to take up the offer of three seats (out of six) in George Ferguson’s cabinet. As a loyal member of the Labour Party I must and will abide by that decision however flawed I think it is.
The announcement came after the Labour party rejected the offer from George Ferguson of seats in his new council cabinet. A decision that left Bristol's new Mayor 'bemused'.
Mr Ferguson was elected as an Independent earlier this month and hopes to put together an all-party coalition. He says he will leave the seats empty for a week to see if Labour Officials change their minds.
Labour's council leader Peter Hammond has resigned over the party's decision not to join George Ferguson's all-party coalition cabinet.
In all conscience I cannot publicly support a decision that runs contrary to the advice I gave to Labour councillors which they accepted by a majority decision as they are entitled to do
I believe this decision is entirely correct. Disappointing as it was, Labour did not win the election on the 15th November. The people of Bristol will expect the Mayor to be able to get on with his job and be accountable for his decisions.
Cross-party working with The Mayor, as important as that will be, is not dependent on holding Cabinet places."
The Labour party has turned down the offer of Cabinet places from the recently elected Independent Bristol Mayor.
After further careful consideration and after listening to a wide range of views across Bristol, and the wider Labour Party, we have decided not to enter the cabinet.
We will support the Mayor when we agree with his decisions, and we want to be free to offer constructive alternatives when we believe a better solution is available.
We will continue as a Labour Party to work with the local communities we represent, and to do our best for the people of Bristol."
The former leader of Bristol City Council has turned down an offer to become Deputy Bristol Mayor. George Ferguson said on twitter it was because of 'family reasons' and he wished the Labour councillor his 'very best'.
Former Bristol MP Tony Benn is to have his old office in the city named after him later this month. It's the latest in a series of honours bestowed by the city, which he represented for 33 years.
Now aged 87, he's lost little of his campaigning zeal, or popularity with Labour grassroots, as our political correspondent Bob Constantine discovered when he caught up with him at the party conference in Manchester.