Bristol City Council’s management agreement is concluded after the election

image caption, Bristol will move to a committee system for the first time in over two decades

  • Author, Pete Samson
  • Role, BBC News, Bristol

Discussions to fill new leadership roles at Bristol City Council under its new committee system are close to being finalised.

The BBC understands that the Greens will chair six of the eight new policy committees, with the other two chaired by the Liberal Democrats, who won eight seats.

The Labor Party, which is the second largest group with 21 councillors, announced last week that it would not chair any of the new policy committees.

“Like Juggling Fish”

Bristol City Council will be run under a committee system, with eight new political committees replacing the mayor and elected cabinet, after the public voted to scrap the role of elected mayor in a referendum.

However, following the election earlier this month – in which no party won an overall majority – discussions were ongoing over who would fill the new commission chair roles.

Committee chairs will set policy agendas and represent the council in the media, and the Green Party hopes to share them proportionately with the other parties.

However, both Labor and the Conservatives turned down the chairmanships.

A senior adviser described the negotiations to the BBC as “juggling fish”.

image caption, Councilor Emma Edwards (left), group leader of the Bristol Green Party, led the negotiations

Talks appeared to have hit a stumbling block last week when the Greens accused Labor of “neglecting their responsibility to the city” by failing to attend scheduled meetings.

The group’s leader, Emma Edwards, said: “By starting these discussions, we are trying to work in a collaborative way that the previous Labor mayor never did.”

However, speaking to BBC Bristol, Labor group leader Tom Renhard said his party was now in opposition under the new set-up.

“We respect the fact that the Greens are the largest party, our focus will be on accountability and improving things for the best of the city,” he said.

His Labor group still hopes to chair some of the so-called “regulatory committees”, which precede the new committee system and decide on areas such as planning and licensing.

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