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14 councillors in Conwy county have broken away from their Independents group ahead of a vote of no confidence against the council’s leader.
The newly formed Conwy First Independents, which includes four cabinet members at Bodlondeb, is set to support Plaid Cymru’s leader Dilwyn Roberts at a special meeting on Friday 18th March.
The remaining five Independent councillors are now led by Kinmel Bay’s Nigel Smith, who has described the split as ‘perverse’ and supporting ‘vested interests’.
The calls for a no confidence vote against Cllr Roberts followed a decision in January to sack Anne Mcaffrey (Independent) from her communications and diversity role, leaving the cabinet without any women. It led to Plaid’s Phil Edwards resigning his housing and social care post in protest, allowing Llansannan councillor Susan Lloyd Williams (Plaid) to take over.
Conwy First leader Philip Evans, the cabinet member for Governance, told the Daily Post after his election on Wednesday: ”The majority of us did not feel that we should be involved in that sort of activity and decided that we would be happier in a group by ourselves…we are more content with our own company in a group that supports the administration.”
Councillor Smith, who now leads the remaining Independents wanting to oust Cllr Roberts, said: ”It is disappointing that we continue to see the same faces/same names/same sex persist and dominate within Conwy cabinet, with change in the main limited to changing seats not faces, experience or skill sets.”
Earlier this week, the women’s rights organistaiton, the Fawcett Society criticised the cabinet reshuffle and welcomed Phil Edwards’ move to allow Cllr Lloyd Williams to take up his former role.
Conwy First now sits as the largest group on the council, followed by the Conservatives (13), Plaid Cymru (12), Labour (11), the Independents (5) and the Liberal Democrats (4). The breakaway councillors include Dr Stuart Anderson (Kinmel Bay) and Keith Eeles (Llanddulas).