Labour set for shake up ahead of local elections in Bristol

Over the past few months, the Labour Party in Bristol has been selecting its candidates to stand in the all-out council elections in May 2020.

At the last council elections in 2016, Labour exceeded expectations to win 37 out of the 70 council seats as well as the Mayoral election which has seen Marvin Rees in post since.

With all the target seats now selected, MPC can reveal that only 20 out of the 37 councillors will be re-standing in their current seats.

All nine Cabinet Members including Cllr Paul Smith (Cabinet Member for Housing) and Cllr Nicola Beech (Cabinet Member for Spatial Planning and City Design) are set to defend their seats at the election. However there has been an exodus from the backbenches with 16 councillors set to step down (and one standing in a different seat).   

A number of senior members from Development Control Committee A and B will step down in 2020 including Chair of Development Control Committee B, Cllr Tom Brook as well as Cllr Mike Davies, Cllr Olly Mead, Cllr Margaret Hickman and Cllr Harriet Bradley.

This will greatly reduce the level of experience of members when determining planning matters in the city after May which could prove tricky for development in the city moving forwards.

Labour has held a majority on the Development Control Committees for the past four years and has effectively used this to deliver its ambitious housing targets for the city.

However predicting the result of the elections in May 2020 is far from clear cut. Labour came a disappointing fourth in the European Elections in the city earlier this year (well behind the buoyant Greens, Liberal Democrats and Brexit Party) which, if replicated in May 2020, could result in Labour losing its overall majority on Bristol City Council and its grip on the Mayoral position.

A key councillor whose seat may be under threat is Cllr Paul Smith who only held his Central ward by 7 votes from the Green Party at the election in 2016.

With a large number of Labour members standing down and parties such as the Greens and Liberal Democrats set to gain seats at the expense of Labour, it seems likely that the pragmatic attitude to development of the City Council (including the enthusiasm for tall buildings) may stumble somewhat following the election.

If you would like more details on councillors in Bristol and views towards development in the city, please contact

 Tom Phipps - Account Manager