Can They Regain Power?
By describing himself as a follower of the 'liberal conservative' tradition David Cameron, the new national leader of the Tory Party, has dumped the Thatcherite inheritance - at least in name. This, of course, has upset many rank and file members who are Thatcherite to the core.
Locally the Tories are only three seats behind Labour - only one if you count the two former councillors who now sit as independents.
Remember that it was Labour who on coming to power repealed Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 which made it illegal for local authorities to "promote" homosexuality. The actual impact of the section is much disputed but it carried huge symbolism.
It is a measure of the condition of the city's Conservative group on the council that one of its members, 75 year old Peter Willows, a councillor for Hangletoon & Knoll Ward, stood trial at Brighton Magistrates Courton on 12th December on a public order charge of allegedly making homophobic remarks at the mayor's reception last May. Cllr. Willows, who had been suspended from the Tory group, was found guilty and fined. The following day he met with the Tory Group's leader, Cllr Brian Oxley, and made the "personal decision" to resign forthwith.
The Gay community has beed divided over whether it was right to take this matter to the criminal law, given that Cllr Willows had long ago apologised for his drunken and intemperate homophobic remarks.