FOUR Conwy councillors have formed a new group on the authority following the ousting of cllr Gareth Jones as leader.

Cllr Sam Rowlands was appointed leader last week after cllr Jones, the previous leader, lost a vote of no confidence.

However the new leader of the authority, cllr Sam Rowlands challenged them to resign their seats and face by elections.

The councillors who have formed the new group, called the Allied Independents, are: Gareth Jones, Frank Bradfield, Donald Milne and Anne McCaffrey. Cllr Jones is the leader and cllr Bradfield his deputy.

North Wales Pioneer: Cllr Anne McCaffreyCllr Anne McCaffrey

Cllr Jones said: “It is early days for the Allied Independents. We are a group of members who have come together with the shared objective of safeguarding the interests of the people of Conwy and the interests of our diverse communities.

North Wales Pioneer: Cllr Donald MilneCllr Donald Milne

“We wish to pursue a purely local agenda free from the constraints of any national party dogma or political ideology. For some of us this will be liberating, for all of us this is exciting.

"Conwy has deep rooted financial and social challenges.

"The Allied Independents intend to focus on the use of scarce resources to meet people’s needs, and are not afraid to lobby for change when vested interests get in the way of doing so.”

North Wales Pioneer: Cllr Frank BradfieldCllr Frank Bradfield

Cllr Frank Bradfield said: “I have resigned from the Conservative group and helped found a new group. It has not got any political position and is open to anyone and everyone no matter what their political persuasion. Some other councillors feel the same way.

“I have supported Gareth 110 per cent. In the past he had to leave Plaid Cymru to become leader of the council. When he was leader he picked a group of young enthusiastic Conservatives and moulded them into a professional cabinet which took the hard decisions such as dealing with Kingdom, the four weekly bin collection and the 9.6 per cent rise in council tax.

“When the move against him surfaced four weeks ago I was appalled at the suggestion cllr Gareth should be removed despite all the hard work he had done helping the Conservative administration achieve what they wanted to achieve.

“I resigned from the Conservative group because of the removal of Gareth Jones as leader and particularly the way it was achieved.”

Cllr Anne McCaffrey said: ““Party politics and personal ambition seem to be key drivers at Conwy council at the moment. I don’t subscribe to that. It constrains what we do and renders us subject to outside political pressure. For me being a councillor is about public service not about self interest, self promotion or a means to an end.

“In 2012 I stood as an Independent councillor, free from outside influence and control. I continue to be an Independent councillor. Being a founder member of the Allied Independents ensures independence is respected. We are a collective, respectful of our differences but determined to use our collective voice to challenge and change the status quo purely for the benefit of residents.

“There is considerable concern amongst members and residents at the recent shenanigans at this council, which has been destabilised and has lost a Leader with great integrity, skills and influence locally, regionally and nationally. The people of Conwy deserve better from us.”

Cllr Sam Rowlands said: “The Conservative group is saddened cllrs Milne and Bradfield have been unable to embrace a newly strengthened coalition that can deliver for the residents of Conwy county.” He added the council’s administration under his leadership is progressive and forward focused and now has an united working majority.

Cllr Rowlands added: “These councillors have instead chosen to join two disaffected ex cabinet members, who have previously been members of several different groups on Conwy Council.

“They now owe a duty to their residents to resign their seats, and face a by-election, as they were elected by the people as conservatives, and the people should have the right to be represented by their party of choice."