Former Senedd member to lead Plaid Cymru on Caerphilly council
Plaid Cymru councillors have elected Councillor Lindsay Whittle as leader of the group on Caerphilly County Borough Council.
Councillor Lindsay Whittle, a former leader of the authority and member of the National Assembly for Wales between 2011 and 2016, replaces Councillor Colin Mann, who was leader of the group for a decade.
Labour secured 45 out of the 69 seats on Caerphilly County Borough Council to retain its majority despite seeing its leader Philippa Marsden defeated in her seat by the Independents when the votes were counted on 7 May.
Plaid Cymru candidate Lindsay Whittle received the highest amount of votes of any candidate with 1,975 and was re-elected to represent Penyrheol alongside three other Plaid Cymru candidates as the party maintained their 18 seats.
Plaid Cymru’s new deputy leader is Aber Valley councillor Charlotte Bishop, who was first elected to the authority a year ago.
Councillor Lindsay Whittle said: “It is a real privilege to be chosen by my fellow councillors to lead the Plaid Cymru group again.
“We have a lot of hard work ahead of us and I’m determined we knock a lot more doors and listen and take account of the concerns of people across the county borough. I also want to see more young people involved in the party locally as they are the future and well as encouraging many more women to become involved.
“Although we did not win the election, I still intend to focus on some of the issues brought up on the doorstep, such as campaigning for at least some street lights to be switched back on in the early hours, including around pensioner complexes. In addition, I hope Labour can be persuaded to spend a chunk of the £180m they have in reserves to benefit communities at this very tough time for everyone.
“I’d also like to thank and pay tribute to the sterling work and commitment Colin Mann showed as group leader since 2012.”
Councillor Colin Mann added: “I was privileged to lead the group for 10 years, including the difficult period of the pandemic and I thank my colleagues for their support during that time. I wish Lindsay all the best in his quest to take things forward, not an easy task.
“I welcome the group’s decision to elect Charlotte Bishop to the post of deputy leader. We must look to the future and I believe that Charlotte is someone who represents that future.
“Although we didn’t increase the number of seats on the council, we had excellent results in some areas. At the same time, there is plenty of work to be done to increase our representation and I look forward to seeing Plaid Cymru progressing.”
Despite Labour retaining its majority, the loss of two Labour councillors in the St Cattwg ward prompted a critical tweet by a Labour Senedd Member.
Two Plaid Cymru councillors and one Labour councillor now represent the St Cattwg ward – before the election it was represented by three Labour councillors.
Caerphilly MS Hefin David said the council’s corportate leadership had consistently failed and tagged the council’s Chief Executive, Christina Harrhy.
Hefin David, who grew up in Penpedairheol and is himself a former St Cattwg ward councillor, wrote on Twitter: “Our losses in St Cattwg aren’t due to elected members but a consistent failure of the corporate leadership of Caerphilly County Borough Council to take seriously the concerns of the community over many years.
“I remember the battle we had to set up a liaison group. Not good enough Christina Harrhy.”
When speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Dr David said he wanted the liaison group to be re-established and to include Natural Resources Wales and Public Health Wales in addition to the council.
He added: “This goes way beyond communication, I shouldn’t have to battle to get these things set-up.”
Additional reporting by Rhiannon James of the local democracy reporting service.
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