Bristol councillor resigns due to ‘chronic stress’ 

A well respected Bristol councillor is to step down early due to ill health.

Green member Clive Stevens had already decided he would not seek re-election this year, but has announced that he will stand down in two weeks’ time because of “long term, chronic stress”.

The announcement by the Clifton Down representative at a meeting of Bristol City Council’s cross-party audit committee on Monday (January 25) surprised and saddened members, who called him a “great councillor” and a “good guy”.

Since his election in 2016, Cllr Stevens has built a reputation for his detailed analysis of lengthy, often impenetrable, council documents and for asking important questions designed to improve the workings of the council.

He was among a number of opposition councillors who doggedly challenged the ruling Labour administration over the ongoing Bristol Energy fiasco and the payoff of former city council chief executive, Anna Klonowski.

Cllr Stevens told his audit committee colleagues: “I’m standing down as a councillor in two weeks’ time.

“So this week is my last week of work and I’m taking a week off.

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“Some of you may know I was unwell over December with symptoms caused by long term, chronic stress. Things did improve over the Christmas break but symptoms have recently returned.

“I had planned to stand down in 2020 anyway, and a combination of many things, including council work, has just got to me in a very serious way.”

Cllr Stevens, who is the vice chair of the committee, thanked his colleagues and wished them well, saying he hoped they would continue to make progress on important issues, including openness of information.

bristol councillor resigns due to chronic stress - Bristol councillor resigns due to ‘chronic stress’ 
Councillor Clive Stevens

Chairperson, Labour’s Mark Brain, said: “All the time you’ve been on the audit committee, you’ve been a marvellous member. You ask questions that nobody else thinks of…and you don’t let things go.

“You’ve been a great councillor and I’ve heard people in our party say what a good guy you are and what a great job you’ve done. You’re going to be missed.

“Thank you very much for everything you’ve done and I wish you a less stressful future”

Cllr Brain’s comments were echoed by members from the Liberal Democrat and Conservative groups.

Tory member Geoff Gollop told Cllr Stevens: “You have actually proved that those who care about systems and integrity can work together from all political persuasions.”

In a statement released after the meeting, the Greens noted that Cllr Stevens was originally planning to step down at the local elections in May 2020, but has continued in the role following their postponement due to Covid-19.

Green group leader Eleanor Combley said: “Clive has…gained a reputation as a powerful voice for transparency and scrutiny who is known for asking tough but constructive questions to council officers and the administration, and for his dedication to making the council a more effective and transparent organisation.”

Cllr Stevens, who sits on several council committees. officially resigns on February 7.

Tom Hathway, a Green Party activist in Clifton Down, has been chosen as the candidate to replace him in the next election.

Local elections are still due to take place on May 7 despite concerns about the dangers posed by coronavirus.

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