Politics of Bristol

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This article is about current politics in Bristol. For the history of local government in the city, see History of local government in Bristol.

The city of Bristol, England, is a unitary authority, represented by four MPs representing seats wholly within the city boundaries. As well as these, Filton and Bradley Stoke covers the northern urban fringe in South Gloucestershire and the north eastern urban fringe is in the Kingswood constituency. The overall trend of both local and national representation became left of centre, favouring the Labour Party and Liberal Democrats during the latter 20th century, but there was a shift to the right in the 2010 general election (although this was not reflected in the local elections). The city has a tradition of local activism, with environmental issues and sustainable transport[1] being prominent issues in the city. The most recent City council elections were in May 2013. On 3 May 2012, Bristol held a referendum to decide whether the city should have a directly elected mayor to replace the leader elected by councillors. The result was announced on 4 May. 41,032 voted for an elected mayor and 35,880 voted against, with a turnout of 24%.[2] An election for the new post was held on 15 November 2012,[3] with Independent candidate George Ferguson becoming Mayor of Bristol.

City Council[edit]

Further information: Bristol City Council elections
Bristol City Hall.

The City of Bristol is a ceremonial county governed by a unitary authority; Bristol City Council. The city is divided into 35 wards, which each elect two councillors for a four-year term. One third of the councillors are elected three years in four, but as only one councillor from any ward stands at a time, two-thirds of wards are competed each election.

The full council of 70 councillors has ultimate responsibility for establishing the decision making process and approving the Council's budget and policy framework.[4] The council meets at the City Hall (known as the Council House up until 2012). Full meetings are chaired by the Lord Mayor, a largely ceremonial role that does not hold direct power. The Lord Mayor is a councillor, elected annually in May by the council members.[5]

The elected mayor (not the Lord Mayor) acts as leader of the cabinet and appoints up to seven councillors as members (six were appointed as of May 2013). The cabinet is responsible for most day-to-day decisions though the elected Mayor retains the right to override cabinet votes.[4]

Composition and control[edit]

Wards in Bristol after the 2010 local elections

The Council has long been dominated by the Labour Party, but recently the Liberal Democrat party has grown strong in the city and took minority control of the Council between the 2005 and 2007 elections. After the 2007 elections, the Labour, Conservative and Green parties then joined forces to oust them and install a minority Labour administration.[6] The Lord Mayor for 2012–2013 is Liberal Democrat councillor Peter Main. In October 2008 the Liberal Democrats won a seat from Labour in a by-election caused by the death of the sitting councillor. On 24 February 2009 the minority Labour administration resigned following a defeat over plans to build an incinerator in Avonmouth,[7] and the Liberal Democrats resumed control.

In 2009, the election resulted in the Liberal Democrats taking overall majority control of Bristol City Council for the first time. In 2010 they increased their representation to 38 seats giving them a majority of 6.[8] In 2011, they lost their majority and the council is now hung. The 2013 local elections, in which a third of the city's wards were up for election, saw Labour gain 7 seats and the Green party double their seats from 2 to 4 while the Liberal Democrats suffered a loss of 10 seats.[9] These trends were continued into the next election in May 2014, in which Labour gained 3 seats to take their total to 31, the Green party built on their success by winning 2 more seats, the Conservative party gained 1 seat and UKIP won their first ever seat on the council. In another damaging result, the Liberal Democrats lost a further 7 seats.[10]

For details on the history of Bristol local politics, see History of Bristol City Council.

Current composition by party
Conservative Party Green Party Independents for Bristol Labour Party Liberal Democrats UKIP Total
15 6 1 31 16 1 70
Current leadership[11]
Position Name Party
Mayor, Transport Portfolio George Ferguson Independent
Deputy Mayor, Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning, Strategic Housing and Regeneration Mark Bradshaw Labour Party
Cabinet Member for Leisure, Tourism, Licensing and Community Safety Simon Cook Liberal Democrats
Deputy Mayor, Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Services Geoff Gollop Conservative
Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, Environment and Council Housing Gus Hoyt Green Party
Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care Barbara Janke Liberal Democrats
Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Education Brenda Massey Labour Party
chief executive Jan Ormondroyd non-partisan


Current councillors
Ward Name Party Seat up for re-election Notes
Ashley Rob Telford Green Party 2017
Ashley Gus Hoyt Green Party 2015 Cabinet Member
Avonmouth Wayne Harvey Conservative 2017
Avonmouth Doug Naysmith Labour 2014
Bedminster Colin Smith Labour 2015
Bedminster Mark Bradshaw Labour 2014 Cabinet Member
Bishopston Daniella Radice Green Party 2017
Bishopston Dr David Willingham Liberal Democrats 2014
Bishopsworth Richard Eddy Conservative 2015
Bishopsworth Kevin Quartley Conservative 2014
Brislington East Mike Langley Labour 2015
Brislington East Mike Wollacott Labour 2014
Brislington West Peter Main Liberal Democrats 2014 Lord Mayor
Brislington West Jackie Norman Liberal Democrats 2015
Cabot Dr Mark Wright Liberal Democrats 2017
Cabot Alex Woodman Liberal Democrats 2015
Clifton Charles James Hastings Lucas Conservative 2017
Clifton Barbara Janke Liberal Democrats 2015 Cabinet Member
Clifton East Christian Martin Liberal Democrats 2015
Clifton East Simon Cook Liberal Democrats 2017 Cabinet Member
Cotham Anthony Negus Liberal Democrats 2017
Cotham Neil Harrison Liberal Democrats 2015
Easton Faruk Choudhury Labour 2015
Easton Afzal Shah Labour 2017
Eastville Mahmadur Khan Labour 2015
Eastville Mhairi Threlfall Labour 2017
Filwood Jeff Lovell Labour 2015
Filwood Christopher Jackson Labour 2014
Frome Vale Lesley Alexander Conservative 2015
Frome Vale Bill Payne Labour 2017
Hartcliffe Derek Pickup Labour 2014
Hartcliffe Mark Brain Labour 2015
Henbury Mark Weston Conservative 2014 Conservative Group Deputy Leader
Henbury Chris Windows Conservative 2017
Hengrove Barry Clark Labour 2015
Hengrove Sylvia Doubell Liberal Democrats 2014
Henleaze Clare Campion-Smith Liberal Democrats 2014
Henleaze Glenise Morgan Liberal Democrats 2017
Hillfields Noreen Daniels Labour 2017
Hillfields Phil Hanby Labour 2015
Horfield Claire Michelle Hiscott Conservative 2017
Horfield Peter Levy Liberal Democrats 2014
Kingsweston Jason Budd Independents for Bristol 2017
Kingsweston Tim Leaman Liberal Democrats 2014
Knowle Christopher Davies Liberal Democrats 2015
Knowle Gary Hopkins Liberal Democrats 2014
Lawrence Hill Margaret Hickman Labour 2015
Lawrence Hill Brenda Hugill Labour 2017
Lockleaze Sean Emmett Liberal Democrats 2014
Lockleaze Estella Tincknell Labour 2017
Redland Fi Hance Liberal Democrats 2017
Redland Sylvia Townsend Liberal Democrats 2014
Southmead Brenda Massey Labour 2017 Cabinet Member
Southmead Jenny Smith Labour 2014
Southville Tess Green Green Party 2014 Green Group Leader
Southville Sean Beynon Labour 2015
St George East Fabian Breckels Labour 2015
St George East Steve Pearce Labour 2017
St George West Ron Stone Labour 2017
St George West Peter Hammond Labour 2015 Labour group leader
Stockwood David Morris Conservative 2014
Stockwood Jay Jethwa Conservative 2015
Stoke Bishop Peter Abraham Conservative 2017 Conservative Group leader
Stoke Bishop John Goulandris Conservative 2014
Westbury-on-Trym Geoff Gollop OBE Conservative 2017 Deputy Mayor, Cabinet Member
Westbury-on-Trym Alastair Watson Conservative 2014
Whitchurch Park Timothy Kent Liberal Democrats 2014 Lib Dem Group Leader
Whitchurch Park Helen Holland Labour 2015 Labour Group Leader
Windmill Hill Alf Havvock Liberal Democrats 2014
Windmill Hill Mark Bailey Liberal Democrats 2015

Westminster representation[edit]

Bristol constituencies following the 2010 general election

Bristol has 4 Westminster constituencies (West, East, South and North-west), and parts of the built-up area outside the administrative city are also covered by the Filton and Bradley Stoke and Kingswood constituencies which are in South Gloucestershire.

Partisan Composition for House of Commons elected in May 2010
Constituency Member Party
Bristol East Kerry McCarthy Labour Party
Bristol North West Charlotte Leslie Conservative Party
Bristol South Dawn Primarolo Labour Party
Bristol West Stephen Williams Liberal Democrat
Constituencies in Greater Bristol, but outside the city boundary
Filton and Bradley Stoke Jack Lopresti Conservative Party
Kingswood Chris Skidmore Conservative Party

European representation[edit]

Being in the South West England region for the European Parliament, Bristol currently elects six Members of the European Parliament. Currently, two MEPs come from the Conservative Party, two from the UK Independence Party, one from the Labour Party and one from the Green Party

The last election to the European Parliament from the South West was held on 22nd May 2014.

Partisan Composition
Member Party European Party Group
Molly Scott Cato Green Green/EFA
Julia Reid UKIP Europe of Freedom and Democracy
Clare Moody Labour Party Socialist and Democrats
Julie Girling Conservative European Conservatives and Reformists
William, Earl of Dartmouth UKIP Europe of Freedom and Democracy
Ashley Fox Conservative European Conservatives and Reformists

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Sustainability: CREATE Centre". Bristol City Council. Retrieved 18 April 2010. 
  2. ^ "The City of Bristol Mayoral Referendum result". Bristol City Council. 4 May 2012. Retrieved 4 May 2012. 
  3. ^ "Directly Elected Mayor – What does it mean for Bristol?". Bristol City Council. 4 May 2012. Retrieved 4 May 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "Decision Making at Bristol City Council". Bristol City Council. 5 December 2008. Retrieved 28 November 2009. 
  5. ^ "Lord Mayor of Bristol". Bristol City Council. 3 November 2009. Retrieved 28 November 2009. 
  6. ^ Staff writer (22 May 2007). "Bristol: Council leader battle resolved". BBC News (BBC). Retrieved 18 April 2010. 
  7. ^ Staff writer (24 February 2009). "Lib Dems take over as Labour quits Bristol City Council". Bristol Evening Post (Bristol News and Media). Retrieved 25 February 2009. 
  8. ^ "Local Election Results 2010". Bristol City Council. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  9. ^ "Vote 2013: Results for Bristol". BBC. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  10. ^ "Liberal Democrats lose out in Bristol elections". BBC. Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  11. ^ http://www.bristol247.com/2013/05/17/bristol-mayor-george-ferguson-announces-cabinet-roles-85359/
  12. ^ "Bristol City Council cabinet final members announced". BBC. Retrieved 24 January 2013. 
  13. ^ http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/George-welcomes-cabinet-colours/story-19033802-detail/story.html

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