New Plaid Cymru Senedd member steps down as councillor
Jez Hemming, local democracy reporter
The new Plaid Cymru Senedd Member for Dwyfor Meirionnydd has resigned the Denbighshire council seat he’d held since 2017.
Mabon ap Gwynfor has written to fellow members tendering his resignation for Llandrillo ward near Corwen, with immediate effect.
In his letter he said it was “impossible” to fulfil both roles “effectively” and would have stepped down sooner but he needed to “finalise a few things locally”.
Mr ap Gwynfor said the summer was an ideal period to resign as it would allow the council an opportunity during a quiet time for council business to prepare for the impending by-election.
Whoever wins his vacant seat will only be guaranteed to hold it until May next year, when Wales will go to the polls again to elect new county councillors.
He said: “I believe it’s impossible for me to complete my duties as a councillor and an MS effectively, and it would be unfair on the residents of my community were I to continue as a councillor, without being able to give them the time and attention they deserve.
“It’s been a pleasure to represent the people of this ward over the last four years.
“Of course, there are many challenges facing us here, as is the case in every ward, and the fact over a quarter of our children here live in poverty is a damning indictment of our priorities as a society.”
He added: “I hope I provided a constructive and useful contribution to my ward and the county council.
“I know some were frustrated with some of my questions and challenges but at no time was I playing politics.
“I’m a firm believer in scrutiny, and holding decision makers’ feet to the fire.
“It is the lack of scrutiny – no challenging, no questioning – that leads to corruption.”
He said the low point of his tenure in local government was the death of Cllr Huw “Chick” Jones (Corwen ward) who died last year.
“He was a firm friend to many of us, but also a brilliant champion for his home town and the area,” said the Mr ap Gwynfor.
His highlight was “making sure” the authority declared a climate and ecological crisis on July 2019, which he said showed the council taking “fearless true leadership”.
His former councillor colleague Gareth Davies, who won the Vale of Clwyd seat for the Conservatives in May’s Senedd poll, will not step down from his council seat.
Mr Davies has said previously he was “committed to serving the residents of my council ward until May 2022”.
He claimed he would use his council allowance of more than £13,000 to “support good local causes in my community”.