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Powys Liberal Democrats in talks with Labour over potential coalition

09 May 2022 3 minute read
Cllr James Gibson-Watt. Liberal Democrat group leader at Powys County Council.

Elgan Hearn, local democracy reporter

Liberal Democrats in Powys have confirmed they are in talks with potential coalition partners following Thursday’s local election vote.

Probable council leader and Liberal Democrat group leader the biggest group at Powys, Cllr James Gibson-Watt revealed that discussion with potential coalition partners are taking place but did not want to give too much away at the moment.

Cllr Gibson-Watt said: “Negotiations are underway and I’m confident that we’ll be able to form an administration in good time for the AGM.

“I’d rather keep it confidential for the moment, but I do think we’ll be able to put together a very good administration.”

Cllr Gibson-Watt did confirm that the Conservative group would not be part of the administration as they are “too far apart on too many things”.

“It wouldn’t work on either side, ” said  Cllr Gibson-Watt.

Cllr Gibson-Watt added that there would be a Lib Dem group meeting on Monday night to further discuss the situation.

Discussions

Labour group leader Cllr Matthew Dorrance said: “I have spoken to James; discussions are ongoing and there’s more work to do – we  plan to talk again.

With Labour likely to bring nine councillors to the coalition the figures go up to 33 of 68 councillors, tantalisingly short of an outright majority.

To get to the magic number of 35, it is expected that the Lib Dems will ask the Green Party’s new councillor, Jeremy Thorp to come on board.

But getting any more councillors to join them will depend on what happens to the bloc of 17 independent councillors that were voted on to the council.

It is expected that the 17 will fragment into smaller groups – one of which would join the coalition.

Powys Conservative group leader, Cllr Aled Davies, said: “I’m not expecting to be part of the cabinet in the near future.

“I have congratulated James (Gibson-Watt) and I am a bit worried with what the Liberal Democrats promised on the campaign trail and that it will be impossible to realise, and I want to make sure schools will get the investment they need.

“We did reasonably well in Montgomeryshire we returned the same numbers that we had in 2017 and were one vote away from gaining another ward.

“The performance in Brecon and Radnorshire was disappointing with only one member being elected, but the Independent group received the biggest hit.”

“We want to be a constructive opposition and will be working to make sure the people of Powys receive improving and the best services possible.”


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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
4 months ago

Here’s hoping that a new council will put a stop to the chicken infestation in Powys and put pressure on NRW to stop pollution and clean up the rivers of the county…

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
4 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

I think we need some information on what can and cannot be done at local level under existing planning laws. Whether they can be changed by the council or senedd or whether we are at the mercy of Putin’s Patsies in Westminster.

I do know that Wales can do nothing about water companies dumping sewage into rivers because of Westminster and I seem to remember that councils find it hard to prevent this stuff.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
4 months ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

They could stand up as one and call them out…like those brave and smart kids did at Priti Patel’s hate fest the other day…so much more deadly to the Tories than pi**ing off London commuters…

John Brooks
John Brooks
4 months ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

They could actually just apply existing guidelines and rules properly, they allow IPUs too close to houses, HGVs on roads too narrow to take them (but refuse permission for a holiday let on the same road due to traffic concerns!), give the applicants far too much time to begrudgingly comply with NRW reports instead of deciding on information provided. They take no enforcement action, for example one new IPU near me has started construction before road improvements are made despite it being a planning condition to have the improvements first. They do not check if manure management plans are followed… Read more »

R W
R W
4 months ago

Aren’t there three PC councillors as well?

John Brooks
John Brooks
4 months ago
Reply to  R W

Maybe PC want a similar arrangement to the one they have with Lafur in the Sennedd.

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