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Independents and Conservatives agree deal to run Wrexham Council

11 May 2022 4 minutes Read
Wrexham Guildhall. Photo by Rept0n1x is marked with CC BY-SA 3.0.

Liam Randall, local democracy reporter

Wrexham Council is once again set to be led by a coalition of independents and Conservatives following last week’s local elections.

Talks have been ongoing over the weekend regarding who will form the next administration after voters went to the polls on Thursday, May 6.

The results saw no group achieve an overall majority on the 56-seat council, with independents holding 23, Labour on 14, the Conservatives and Plaid Cymru on nine each and the Liberal Democrats with just one.

However, two previously separate independent groups led by Cllrs Mark Pritchard and David A Bithell announced yesterday they would be merging to form a new one with 21 members.

Known as “the Independent Group”, it has today (Wednesday, May 11) been confirmed they have reached an agreement with the Conservatives to run the local authority for the next five years.

The council was also run by an alliance of the two former independent groups and Conservatives during the last term.

Stable

In a joint statement, the independents and Conservatives said: “This agreement provides a stable and experienced partnership of elected members to build on and continue the work which has been carried out over the previous five years.

“This is an exciting time for Wrexham where we have some major investment projects like the World Heritage Site, Wrexham Gateway, National Museum of Football, City of Culture and Wrexham AFC aspirations to reach the football league and a purpose built 5,500 seated stand with prospects for international football returning to Wrexham.”

Cllr Pritchard and Conservative group leader Hugh Jones said: “We are pleased to have reached a workable agreement to run the council for the next five years and we will continue to build on our success.

“We will work tirelessly to address the many concerns which have been raised from our communities across the whole county borough.

“We will continue to work with all elected members, all groups and community councils for the benefit of the residents of Wrexham county borough.”

Labour and Plaid Cymru, who both made gains at the elections, will form the main opposition parties, alongside the one remaining Liberal Democrat councillors and two non-aligned independent members.

Labour also held talks with the independent group about the possibility of working together, but the discussions did not prove successful.

Racism

Group leader Dana Davies claimed negotiations stalled after she said a deal was conditional on all councillors undertaking training in anti-Semitism, anti-homophobia, ant-racism and anti-sexism.

She said every member of the proposed coalition would also have been required to sign up to a motion condemning racism and misogyny.

Cllr Davies said: “The agreement would have been a UK-first, it would have been ground-breaking.

“It would have required every councillor to embrace a tolerant, compassionate, kinder form of politics.

“But instead, the Independents have done a deal the Tories again, in what looks like pure self-interest based on keeping the same men in the same jobs as they had before the election.

“This is a sad day for Wrexham. We had a chance to turn the corner, to end decades of bitter politics and hatred.

“Instead, Independents and Tories are bunkering down to protect their own positions.”

Excluded

Cllr Marc Jones, leader of the Plaid Cymru group also accused the coalition of being more interested in retaining power than representing the electorate.

He said: “People in Wrexham voted in extra Plaid and Labour councillors on Thursday but both parties have now been excluded from decision making.

“I wonder how many people voted independent without realising they would be propping up a Tory-independent regime?

“It devalues democracy when you see backroom deals being done by people who appear more interested in power than representing people.

“Despite some honourable exceptions, independent candidates have taken the public for a ride and it’s no wonder people are cynical about politics.

“The Plaid Cymru group of nine councillors will be a positive voice for change in the council and we’ll all be working for the communities we represent.”


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Russell
10 days ago

Vote independent, get Tory

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
10 days ago

There were numerous ‘Independents’ all over Wales in these elections who were hiding their true Tory identity or, like one in my area, falling out with their Tory group. I’m certain the voters of Wrexham have been duped and the slimy ploy has paid off.

Jonathan Edwards
Jonathan Edwards
10 days ago

You heard it here first. Wales is not a left-wing country. It has a noisy left wing. And many many others who are scared of voicing their views, or maybe haven’t worked their views out yet. I think there’s every chance that Independents and Cons will have a look at Indy provided Wales does not finish up like Sturgeon’s Scotland or Trudeau’s Canada. They just haven’t been given a middle of the road option for Indy, that’s all. Wrexham is a very good place to start as they are small-i independent anyway.

Gareth
Gareth
10 days ago

Election results were, as you may not be aware, a disaster for the Tory party, who lost the only council they controlled, and were minus 86 councilors, were the people who were “scared” to speak out also scared to vote? Looking at results they seem to contradict your statement. Are you and farmer Davies living in the same alternate reality when it comes to facts.

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
10 days ago

People would likely not have voted for all these independents had they known they were masquerading as Tories. There is a reason they lost 86 seats and control of Monmouthshire.

Richard
Richard
10 days ago

This will not last. The two independent groups have track record of mutual dislike 👎

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
10 days ago
Reply to  Richard

I hope you are right. The people of Wrexham deserve better.

John Brooks
John Brooks
10 days ago

Once again so called Independents form a group. So much for the claim they always make that they will, individually, speak up for their constituents and not follow Party discipline.

Richard
Richard
10 days ago
Reply to  John Brooks

John , the independent tradition in Wales and Cornwall is a long one – and mostly anhonourable one….that is why it has lasted. The Wrexham groups are different. One mostly x labour and one not. In Powys its the loyalty to the three old districts and in Ynys Mon its tended to be family and tribal. Independent members focus on the local, community and town focused – rather than accepting a party whip and handed a sheet before meetings on which way to vote – before hearing the debate/discussion. Their weak areas are around planning issues 🙄….and being very individual… Read more »

Last edited 10 days ago by Richard
SundanceKid
SundanceKid
10 days ago

How can these Tories possibly think they have a mandate to govern when they have lost seats?

Glen Darslag
Glen Darslag
10 days ago
Reply to  SundanceKid

Who lost seats?

Oh yeah. Plaid Cymru

Richard
Richard
10 days ago
Reply to  Glen Darslag

An interesting point of view which i guess the electors of Ynys Mon, Carmarthen and Gwynedd plus Ceredigion might have their own thoughts on 🤥…..the number of councillors in Wales reduced and if you look at the last full election rather than what the seats were there on the day before the election ( ie like4like ) you find their numbers are plus…..but ah well facts just dont bother some in these days of gake news and trolls.

R W
R W
9 days ago
Reply to  Glen Darslag

Actually, Plaid Cymru trebled their number of councillors in Wrexham compared with the council elections in 2018.
Plaid Cymru now have considerably more councillors in Wales than the Tories after being behind them before last week’s elections. Also, they still have many more councillors than the Lib Dems in Wales. PC also gained outright control of three additional councils on top of the one they already held. I suspect the Tories and Lib Dems would have given their right arms for that sort of “failure”!! 😂😂

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
7 days ago
Reply to  Glen Darslag

Plaid didn’t lose any councillors in Wrexham. They have tripled their numbers there since 2017.

Pay attention.

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