Plaid Cymru councillor suspended for standing against a party colleague as an independent
Richard Evans, local democracy reporter
Plaid Cymru has suspended a councillor for standing against a party colleague as an independent in the local council elections.
Trystan Lewis, who is currently a Conwy County councillor in the Pensarn ward in Llandudno Junction, is now standing in Llansannan against the incumbent, Susan Lloyd-Williams, who has represented the area for Plaid since 2008.
Cllr Lewis, who lives in Llanfair Talhaiarn said he decided to stand against Cllr Lloyd-Williams because she had moved to Bodelwyddan, which is not Conwy but in Denbighshire. Cllr Lloyd-Williams said she was “disappointed” that a former colleague had stood against her but that she was “proud to stand again to seek the mandate of the community I have known and loved for 26 years”.
A party spokesperson said Cllr Lloyd-Williams was the “embodiment of everything that Plaid stands for”. A Plaid source confirmed to the Local Democracy Reporting Service that Cllr Lewis had been “suspended, pending a disciplinary panel” after a complaint was made against him.
The source said: “It is in the Plaid Cymru rules that if you are a Plaid Cymru member you can’t stand against another Plaid Cymru candidate as an independent. What he has done is stood as an independent against Sue without informing his own group. “We only found out about this when people in the ward sent pictures of the independent leaflet he had been dropping around.
“But at the time, he was a Plaid Cymru councillor in his ward in Llandudno Junction, yet he was leafleting as an independent against a colleague.”
Cllr Lewis was a former Plaid candidate for Aberconwy in the 2016 Welsh Assembly elections and only narrowly lost to the current Tory MS Janet Finch-Saunders.
Cllr Lewis said: “We moved as a family to Llanfair Talhaiarn. A couple of people from Llansannan ward approached me, asking if I was interested in standing in Llansannan because the current incumbent has moved to Bodelwyddan.
“I think she’s (Cllr Lloyd-Williams) been living there for three years, so she’s living out of Conwy county. She’s living in Denbighshire.
“I asked Plaid Cymru if there would be a hustings so it would be fair and square, so the membership of Plaid in Llansannan could decide. “That was, indeed, Plaid rules. There was a hustings supposed to be held.”
But “that didn’t happen” and the county committee selected the incumbent, he added. “I decided to stand as an independent and leave the option for people to decide, from all political backgrounds.”
Cllr Lewis : “I made the decision not to stand in Pensarn because I live 18 miles away, and I think a councillor should be in his patch, in his area, representing the people. I could have obviously stood again in Pensarn because it’s in the rules, in the county. But I thought it wasn’t fair to the people of Pensarn if their local councillor lived on the other side of the county.”
Asked why he wasn’t standing in the ward where he lived – neighbouring Llanfair TH – Cllr Lewis said: “I’m one field away from the (Lansannan) ward. I was approached by people unhappy that the present councillor wasn’t living in the county.
“They asked me whether I would be interested in standing.”
Cllr Lloyd Williams said: “It is of course disappointing and rather surprising that a colleague has decided to take this course of action, but I am proud to stand again to seek the mandate of the community I have known and loved for 26 years. I have represented the ward of Llansannan, Llannefydd and Groes since 2008, and I am proud of my achievements on a local and county level.
“I very much hope to continue my work for Llansannan Ward after May 5.” A Plaid Cymru spokesperson added: “Sue Lloyd-Williams is the embodiment of everything that Plaid stands for in this election, a hard-working community champion – dedicated to making a difference locally. While others will be interested in putting themselves first, Sue’s only priority is the people of Llansannan.”
*The only other candidate standing in Llansannan is Loren Lloyd-Pepperell Conservative Party.
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