Tory Senedd members among councillors stepping down at next election
Saul Cooke-Black, local democracy reporter
Tory Senedd members are among several long-standing Monmouthshire councillors who have announced they will stand down at May’s local government elections.
Eleven of Monmouthshire’s 43 current county councillors will not stand for re-election, it has been announced, and these include former council leader, Cllr Peter Fox, who has represented the Portskewett ward for 25 years.
Cllr Fox stood down as council leader after 13 years last May, following his election to the Senedd as the MS for Monmouth.
Fellow Conservative MS Laura Anne Jones is also standing down as a councillor after being elected to the Senedd to represent the South Wales East region.
Paying tribute to his service, council leader Cllr Richard John said Cllr Fox had been “a towering figure in local government in Wales”.
Cllr Fox said it had been “an absolutely wonderful journey over many years with many ups and downs”.
The council’s Labour group leader, Cllr Dimitri Batrouni, will also be standing down as a councillor in Monmouthshire.
Warm words were exchanged between councillors Fox and Batrouni, who have been political rivals for many years, at Thursday’s full council meeting.
Cllr Batrouni paid tribute to Cllr Fox’s service and leadership, while Cllr Fox said Cllr Batrouni had provided “strong opposition”.
Cllr Batrouni said he had tried to provide scrutiny of the Conservative-led council and that it had been important to be “robust and tough” to those in power, which he said had been shown by the recent invasion of Ukraine.
Among those standing down in the Conservative group are councillors Bryan Jones, Bryan Strong.
Liberal Democrat councillor Linda Guppy will be standing down after 21 years of service.
Long-serving Labour councillor Roger Harris will also stand down, as well as councillors Jim Higginson and Dave Evans from the same group.
Independent group councillor Debby Blakebrough and Independent Kevin Williams, who recently switched from the Labour group, will also not stand for election.
The council also paid tribute to former members David Dovey and Peter Clarke who have died in the last term.
Cllr Mat Feakins, the council’s chairman, proposed that benches are installed in their memory at the entrance to County Hall in Usk.
Cllr Feakins said they will “always be remembered in our hearts”.