Labour councillor elected leader of Monmouthshire council as groups pledge to work together
Saul Cooke-Black, local democracy reporter
The leaders of the political groups on Monmouthshire council have pledged to work together after the results of the local elections left the authority with no overall majority.
The election on May 5 saw the Conservatives lose control of the authority, with 18 members elected, while Labour emerged as the largest group, with 22 councillors. Five Independent candidates and one for the Green Party were also elected.
Although this leaves no one party with overall control, Labour group leader Cllr Mary Ann Brocklesby was elected as the council’s new leader – becoming the first woman to head up the authority.
Following her election as leader, Cllr Brocklesby said Monmouthshire had “voted for change” on May 5 and that a Labour administration will “work differently in a collaborative and non-divisive way”.
“We will work with all the political parties and groups represented here in coming to progressive decisions on behalf of everybody in Monmouthshire,” she said.
“We know under Labour working collaboratively, Monmouthshire can tackle the challenges facing the county.”
Cllr Brocklesby said May 5 was “historic in many ways”, bringing the first Labour council in Monmouthshire in a generation, and the first gender balanced authority in Wales.
“As someone who has spent a lifetime fighting for equality, I am enormously proud of the people of Monmouthshire and what they did on May 5,” she added.
Cllr Brocklesby has appointed Cllr Paul Griffiths as deputy leader, while the cabinet will be made up other Labour councillors.
Cllr Richard John, leader of the Conservative group, offered his congratulations to Cllr Brocklesby.
“We wish you good luck, congratulations and the achievement of being the first ever female leader of Monmouthshire council is not one to be overlooked,” he said.
Cllr John said the Conservative group would be ‘constructive’ and ‘fair’ in opposition, and that there were areas where the parties could work together.
He said some residents in the county had voted for Labour “because of a particular individual in Westminster”, adding that voters had “wanted to send a message”.
Cllr Frances Taylor, Independent group leader, said they will look to support the administration where they feel it is “the right path” and for the benefit of residents, while also working to hold it to account.
She said the results of the election presented a chance for the political groups to work together.
“I think that offers us an opportunity, possibly the opportunity of a generation, to work together across all of this chamber, to bring together experience, knowledge and to find those solutions for some of the intractable problems that our county faces,” she said.
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