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Leader and deputy leader of Merthyr Labour group resign

07 Mar 2024 4 minute read
Left: Cllr Darren Roberts, Right: Cllr Clive Jones.

Emily Price

The leader and deputy leader of the Merthyr Labour Group have both stepped down following concerns regarding their leadership.

Leader of the Opposition Darren Roberts and Deputy Leader of the Opposition Clive Jones both offered their resignation at a shadow cabinet meeting on Wednesday evening (March 7).

Welsh Labour sources told Nation.Cymru the pair were “almost invisible” as opposition leaders and that there were “deep divisions” within the group.

It comes following criticisms of Merthyr Tydfil County Council’s opposition from residents posting to the Merthyr Council Matters page which has over 26,000 followers.


One post stated: “It’s time to get the Commissioners in and start proceedings to be absorbed by a proper authority. We are run by cowboys, snakes and amateurs.

“The amount of apathy shown by the council over the Trust [Wellbeing Merthyr] the opencast disaster, the privatisation of the leisure centre, and many, many other issues, is criminal.

“You can’t just blame the Independent council, the role of the opposition is to keep them honest and offer some thorough scrutiny.

“The Indies have slept their way through this administration, and Labour haven’t turned up in any way shape or form.

“Time to throw the lot in the bin and get the professionals in. Never has there been such a gathering of mediocrity and apathy.

“I never thought I’d be someone to support our absorption into a larger authority but, I honestly think it’s broken beyond repair.”

Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council which is currently led by independents has faced criticism in recent years over the controversial Ffos-y-Fran open cast mine which was able to continue extracting coal after it was ordered to close.

The council has also come under fire over a multi million pound swimming pool which has been closed since December 2019 due to water leaks affecting the concrete and causing tiles to lift off.

Cllr Roberts had been Leader of the Labour Group in Merthyr for over five years and for much of that he worked alongside Deputy Leader Clive Jones.

Cllr Roberts said he will remain as a Labour Ward Councillor for Aberfan, Merthyr Vale and Mount Pleasant.

We reached out to the former deputy leader also but did not receive a response.


Cllr Roberts confirmed his resignation in a Facebook post saying: “After 5 years as Leader of the Labour Group in Merthyr Tydfil, the time has come for me to step aside.

“Today I have issued my resignation as Leader of the Opposition to the Local Authority. It has been a pleasure to lead such a dedicated group of councillors during this time.

“My good friend, Cllr Brent Carter will take over as interim Leader until the Groups AGM in May.

“I would like to thank councillors, past and present for their support but particularly Cllr Clive Jones who has been by my side as Deputy Leader over recent years.

“My work as a Labour Ward Councillor will remain unchanged, representing the residents of Aberfan, Merthyr Vale and Mount Pleasant.”


Plymouth Ward Councillor Brent Carter will take over as interim leader until the Merthyr Labour Group’s annual general meeting.

In 2017, Cllr Carter hit the headlines when he was reported to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales after he was found “covered in lipstick” by police searching a brothel.

Following an investigation, the Ombudsman said it did not consider there was evidence that Cllr Carter’s office or authority had been brought into disrepute.

In a statement regarding his appointment as interim leader, Cllr Carter said: “I can confirm, I have taken up the role as Interim Leader of the Labour Group until the AGM in May, and I am looking forward to the future and the challenges that lie ahead.

“My deputy will be Cllr David Jones and the Shadow Cabinet will be announced within the next few days.

“I would like to go on record to thank Darren and Clive for their stewardship over the last 5 years.

“We are and will always be a committed and driven group and will continue to work tirelessly to support the residents of Merthyr Tydfil and to challenge and hold the Independent Group to account for their actions and decisions.”

Labour sources told us that Dai ‘Chick’ Jones will take up the post of deputy leader of the Merthyr Labour Group, although when we invited him to comment, he did not respond.

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