A FORMER Abergele mayor, cllr Sam Rowlands, has been elected the new leader of Conwy County Borough Council.

The previous leader, Cllr Gareth Jones lost a vote of no confidence and stepped down as leader in a special meeting of the full council, which then elected cllr Sam Rowlands.

The meeting had been requested by five members of the authority following the recent sacking of cllr Rowlands by cllr Jones, from his position as cabinet member for finance.

Cllr Rowlands, a Conservative party member, lives in Abergele and works as a risk manager for HSBC bank. He was born in Bangor but his family moved to Abergele where he was educated. He is a member of Abergele town council and is a former mayor of the town.

He had earlier claimed he was sacked for trying to bring opposition members into the council administration, which was run by a coalition of Conservatives, Independents and defectors from Plaid Cymru.

Cllr Rowlands received 30 votes in the election, standing against him was cllr Wyn Ellis Jones, Plaid Cymru, who received 19 votes. There was one abstention.

Cllr Rowlands said: "“It’s been a difficult few weeks for the council with the uncertainty that has been created through my removal from the cabinet. I am pleased that today we have been able to draw a line under that uncertainty will be moving forward together.

"I am of course delighted to have been elected as the leader of Conwy County Borough Council and I am clear as to what needs to be our focus over the coming months and years.  I will be appointing a new cabinet in the next few days and they will be working hard to deliver the services that our residents need.”