New leader for independents in Merthyr Tydfil
Anthony Lewis, local democracy reporter
Councillor Geraint Thomas has been elected as the new leader of the independent group on Merthyr Tydfil Council.
The former leader, Councillor Lisa Mytton announced she was stepping down following last week’s election and also confirmed she won’t take up a potential cabinet role.
The election which took place on Thursday, 5 May saw Labour finish with 15 seats and the independents with 15 which meant there was no overall control and has led to talks over how the council will be run over the next five years.
The council’s annual general meeting and installation of the new mayor are set to take place on Wednesday, May 25
Cllr Mytton said: “I officially stepped down today as leader of my independent group and handed over the reins to my colleague and friend Geraint Thomas.
“I’ve also decided that I won’t be taking any role in cabinet etc moving forward.
She said it was “not an easy decision” and one she wishes she didn’t have to make but that it was for the right reasons including pride, self respect and integrity.
She said she was “so proud” to have been the leader and will continue to give Vaynor 100%.
She said thank you to the people of Merthyr Tydfil for the “most wonderful opportunity” and that she will be eternally grateful.
Cllr Thomas said he was disappointed to see Cllr Mytton step down and said she was a fantastic leader but added that he respects her reasons and decision.
He said the Independents have come together and elected him as their leader and with the AGM two weeks away they shall see what the future holds.
There are two main independent groups on the council including the main independent group which has run the council since 2017 and the recently formed community independents which was led by Kevin O’Neill but he lost his seat at last week’s election.
Andrew Barry, David Hughes, Declan Sammon and John Thomas who are members of the community independents group were all re-elected.
Independent candidates won both seats in Bedlinog and Trelewis, all three seats in Cyfarthfa, all three seats in Dowlais and Pant, two seats in Gurnos, three seats in the Town ward and both seats in Vaynor ward.
Labour won one seat in Gurnos, both Merthyr Vale seats, both seats in the Park ward, all three seats in Penydarren, all three seats in Plymouth ward, one seat in the Town ward and all three seats in Treharris.
No other party or group won seats at this year’s election in Merthyr Tydfil which now has 30 councillors instead of the previous 33 following the ward boundary review.
The independents took control of the council from Labour back in 2017 with 17 seats to Labour’s 15 after the results came in from the delayed election in Cyfarthfa ward that year.
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How can there be an “independent group” if you’re in a group you’re not independent.
It depends if it’s a technical group or a caucused group my friend. A U.K. Gvt act of 20 years ago sought to wipe our independent and no party plus community focused people. The only way out was them to form a recognised grouping. As a former leader of a very large technical group of independents…I can assure you that it was easier to bring in a flock of sheep 🐑 than whip or instruct members. They tend to be strong minded and like to hear the debate in meetings rather than be told which way to vote by party… Read more »
Agreed, as Llinos mentioned a few days back when you form a group or a bloc you are a party not a “group of independents” and IMO should register as such and publish a manifesto, since such “independents” would be horse trading on their individual manifestos. The voters need to know which policies their candidate will support and which they will abandon to gain the support of the “group” / party