Former Tory councillor hits out and refuses to back Senedd candidate
Elgan Hearn, local democracy reporter
A former Tory councillor has refused to back and has taken a swipe at the party’s Senedd candidate.
Powys County councillor Gwilym Willams has publicly stated that he cannot support Cllr James Evans, who is standing in Brecon and Radnorshire.
In February, Cllr Williams left Powys County Council’s Conservative group due to frustrations over continual council tax rises.
He joined the Action for Powys group but continued as president of the Brecon and Radnorshire Conservative Association.
Earlier this month he resigned as president in an email which was sent to association chairman Peter Weavers, as well as past and present members of the management committee.
In the email Cllr Williams took a swipe at both Cllr Evans and the Powys County Council Conservative group leader, Cllr Aled Davies.
In his email, he said there were “many reasons” why he can’t support the candidacy of Cllr Evans, who up to last November was a member of the Independent/Conservative cabinet.
Conservative ranks are now closing with Weavers pointing out that president is an “honorary” position, with no executive powers.
Weavers also points out that Cllr Evans is not an officer of the association and has not seen the letter.
He said: “Surprisingly as it was a resignation notice, Mr Williams did make a number of allegations in his email, some of which I know to be completely groundless and some of which were not pertinent to matters affecting association.
“Mr Williams offered nothing whatsoever by way of evidence to substantiate his accusations.”
‘Left the group’
Cllr Williams, in his message to Cllr Davies, pointed out that four of the six Conservatives elected 2017 in Brecon and Radnorshire have now left the group.
Two have left Powys altogether, while Cllr Claire Mills left to join the Abolish the Assembly Party.
Cllr Mills is standing in the Senedd election as a candidate in Brecon and Radnorshire and is on their regional list for Mid and West Wales.
Cllr Aled Davies, said: “Gwilym has been a friend since he was first elected as a councillor and continues to be so.
“It is true a number of councillors have left the group and have moved to live outside of Powys, it’s appropriate that they step down as councillors. ”
Ahead of the Council annual meeting last November, Cllr Williams lost the position of Health and Care scrutiny committee chairman with the Conservative group voting to put Cllr Amanda Jenner in the chair.
Cllr Davies added: “I acknowledge that Gwilym is deeply disappointed not to be selected as our nomination to be chair of a scrutiny committee but that is no excuse to make spurious claims. ”
“Today we only have true Welsh Conservatives in our group who’s focus for the next couple of weeks, as is the Brecon and Radnor Association, is on getting Cllr Evans elected to the Senedd, he would a fantastic advocate for all the communities across Brecon and Radnor.”
Cllr Williams, who is recovering from a coronavirus, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that he stood by his claims, and said in the email that if he stayed with the Conservative group and voted for this years Council Tax hike he would have been nominated for an honour such as an OBE or MBE.
He said: “I’m not sure I should comment – but everything I said in the letter can be verified.”