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 was 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 leading to a hung council. 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 party composition following May 2015 local elections
Conservative Party Green Party Labour Party Liberal Democrats UKIP Total
16 13 30 10 1 70
Current party composition
Conservative Party Green Party Labour Party Liberal Democrats UKIP Total
16 14 30 9 1 70
Current leadership following May 2013 local elections[11][12][13]
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 following May 2015 local elections
Ward Name Party Seat up for re-election Notes
Ashley Rob Telford Green Party 2017
Ashley Gus Hoyt Green Party 2019 Cabinet Member
Avonmouth Wayne Harvey Conservative 2017
Avonmouth Matthew Melias Conservative 2018
Bedminster Celia Phipps Labour 2019
Bedminster Mark Bradshaw Labour 2018 Cabinet Member
Bishopston Daniella Radice Green Party 2017
Bishopston Tim Malnick Green Party 2018
Bishopsworth Richard Eddy Conservative 2019
Bishopsworth Kevin Quartley Conservative 2018
Brislington East Mike Langley Labour 2019
Brislington East Mike Wollacott Labour 2018
Brislington West Rhian Greaves Labour 2018 Lord Mayor
Brislington West Eileen Means Labour 2019
Cabot Dr Mark Wright Liberal Democrats 2017
Cabot Ani Stafford-Townsend Green Party 2019
Clifton Charles James Hastings Lucas Conservative 2017
Clifton Jerome Thomas Green Party 2019
Clifton East Carla Denyer Green Party 2019
Clifton East Simon Cook Liberal Democrats 2017 Cabinet Member
Cotham Anthony Negus Liberal Democrats 2017
Cotham Dani Glazzard Green Party 2019
Easton Anna McMullen Green Party 2019
Easton Afzal Shah Labour 2017
Eastville Mahmadur Khan Labour 2019
Eastville Mhairi Threlfall Labour 2017
Filwood Jeff Lovell Labour 2019
Filwood Christopher Jackson Labour 2018 Party whip
Frome Vale Lesley Alexander Conservative 2019 Deputy leader of Conservative Party group
Frome Vale Bill Payne Labour 2017
Hartcliffe Naomi Rylatt Labour 2018
Hartcliffe Mark Brain Labour 2019
Henbury Mark Weston Conservative 2018 Leader of Conservative Party group
Henbury Chris Windows Conservative 2017
Hengrove Barry Clark Labour 2019
Hengrove Michael Frost UK Independence Party 2018
Henleaze Clare Campion-Smith Liberal Democrats 2018
Henleaze Glenise Morgan Liberal Democrats 2017
Hillfields Noreen Daniels Labour 2017
Hillfields Craig Cheney Labour 2019
Horfield Claire Michelle Hiscott Conservative 2017
Horfield Olly Mead Labour 2018
Kingsweston Jason Budd Conservative 2017
Kingsweston Tim Leaman Liberal Democrats 2018
Knowle Christopher Davies Liberal Democrats 2019
Knowle Gary Hopkins Liberal Democrats 2018 Leader of Liberal Democrats group
Lawrence Hill Margaret Hickman Labour 2019
Lawrence Hill Habiq Jama Labour 2017
Lockleaze Gill Kirk Labour 2018
Lockleaze Estella Tincknell Labour 2017
Redland Fi Hance Green Party 2017
Redland Martin Fodor Green Party 2018
Southmead Brenda Massey Labour 2017 Cabinet Member
Southmead Jenny Smith Labour 2018
Southville Charlie Bolton Green Party 2018 Leader of Green Party group
Southville Stephen Clarke Green Party 2019
St George East Fabian Breckels Labour 2019
St George East Steve Pearce Labour 2017
St George West Ron Stone Labour 2017 Deputy leader of Labour Party group
St George West Susan Milestone Labour 2019
Stockwood David Morris Conservative 2019
Stockwood Jay Jethwa Conservative 2018
Stoke Bishop Peter Abraham Conservative 2017
Stoke Bishop John Goulandris Conservative 2018 Party whip
Westbury-on-Trym Geoff Gollop OBE Conservative 2017 Deputy Mayor, Cabinet Member
Westbury-on-Trym Alastair Watson Conservative 2018
Whitchurch Park Timothy Kent Liberal Democrats 2018
Whitchurch Park Helen Holland Labour 2019 Leader of the Labour Party group
Windmill Hill Sam Mongon Labour 2018
Windmill Hill Deborah Joffe Green Party 2019

Westminster representation[edit]

Bristol constituencies following the 2010 general election

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

Members of Parliament following May 2015 general election
Constituency Member Party
Bristol East Kerry McCarthy Labour Party
Bristol North West Charlotte Leslie Conservative Party
Bristol South Karin Smyth Labour Party
Bristol West Thangam Debbonaire Labour Party
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 22 May 2014.

Members of European Parliament following May 2014 European elections
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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