The shadow cabinet announcement
Bristol Green Party, the largest joint opposition group on Bristol City Council, established a shadow cabinet. The cabinet aims to reinforce the opposition’s ability to hold decision-makers accountable with twelve members chosen as counterparts of members to the ruling labour only group.
After the May local elections, Mayor Marvin Rees has established a cabinet with only members from labour despite the Greens winning equal seats as Labour.
The cabinet positioned, Bristol Green Party, leader Paula O’Rourke has stated “When we were elected, 24 councillors were put on the benches in the council chamber which equals what Labour has. A lot of people were very surprised that we weren’t offered cabinet positions. We thought that we might be able to share some decision-making” according to BBC.
Even though BBC has reported that the shadow cabinet will not be privy to briefings or advance reports, the unofficial shadow cabinet will mirror each cabinet position that covers a specific policy area.
Bristol Green Party commenting on the unofficial cabinet
On July 9, 2021, the Bristol Green Party announced the formation of the Shadow Cabinet on their website. Leader of the Green councillor group and newly elected Shadow Cabinet Member for Planning and City Design, Paula O’Rourke said “The Green Shadow Cabinet will be a voice for social and environmental justice across Bristol. While we will aim to be a critical friend to the administration wherever we can, we also won’t shy away from using our strength in the Council to call out the administration, or hold the Labour Mayor and Cabinet to account where needed.”
She also announced the details of the cabinet and its members who will share nine portfolios. One more than the Labour groups since a large portfolio on climate and ecology will be divided into two for more focus.
On July 13, 2021, Bristol Greens stressed the significance of their new cabinet on Twitter, “By having strong, well-informed leads in each of the cabinet portfolios we will be best placed to hold the administration to account”
In addition, Paula O’Rourke has restated the aspiration of the cabinet on her Twitter page. She said “The Green shadow cabinet is established to be a critical friend to the Mayor’s cabinet… but also to demonstrate a Green vision for Bristol. Early days, but I think we can do good over the next three years.”
Cabinet positions and portfolios
Planning and City Design – Paula O’Rourke
Development of place is one of the most important areas of change that faces our city. Paula will push for a careful balance to ensure that new buildings need to be more than just high density – they must also be good places to live and centres of the community, as well as preserving the heritage and unique style that is ‘Bristol’.
Transport and Active Travel – David Wilcox
Transport is currently one-third of Bristol’s CO2 emissions. David will work to reduce that and keep the city moving, productive, healthy and vibrant.
Finance, Governance and Performance – Heather Mack and Katy Grant (job-share)
Heather and Katy will push for transparency and rigour in the Council’s financial decisions. With only 35% of the city fully supportive of an elected Mayoral system, they are also very interested in exploring other options for city governance.
Communities, Culture, Equalities and Public Health – Barry Parsons and Ani Stafford-Townsend (job-share)
This role has included culture in its’ remit, as this is such an important sector for the city. Barry and Ani want to empower communities to act on the climate emergency and support Bristol’s cultural sector and workers. They will also believe that cleaning up Bristol’s air pollution must be a public health priority.
Education, Families and Children’s Services – Christine Townsend
Christine knows first-hand that Bristol’s children are being failed by a lack of local, suitable school places. Enabling children to attend school is a basic function of local government, and as a shadow member of cabinet she will make children’s universal service her main focus.
Adult Social Care – Lorraine Francis and Tim Wye (job share)
We are facing an adult care crisis that urgently needs to be addressed. Lorraine and Tim want to explore simplifying the Council’s procurement system so that local small organisations are not disadvantaged, and focus on how disadvantaged groups are impacted by decision makers across the City.
Climate and Ecology – Carla Denyer and Lily Fitzgibbon (job share)
Carla and Lily will drive the council to take rapid action on the Climate Emergency and Covid recovery, push for robust actions in the recently delayed Ecological Emergency plan, and resist the disastrous proposed expansion of Bristol Airport.
Waste and Energy – Martin Fodor
We need to shift Bristol’s ambition towards reducing, reusing and recycling more and away from managing the mountain of waste. Martin will also prioritise Bristol’s local green energy projects so people can see the benefits in every street and neighbourhood.
Housing Delivery and Homes – Tony Dyer
Tony is dedicated to delivering truly affordable homes that meet the needs of Bristol’s residents whilst also contributing towards tackling the climate and ecological emergencies that must drive our housing policy.