Posted: Sun 19th May 2024

Flintshire Councillors who split from labour to form new party reveal reasons for leaving

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

The councillors whose shock decision to leave Labour and form their own new party – Flintshire People’s Voice –  at Flintshire County Council’s AGM have spoken out about what drove them – and their hopes for the future.

The shock move was led by Penyffordd councillor Alasdair Ibbotson during last weeks AGM of Flintshire Council at County Hall in Mold.

Their decision took the council by surprise – and saw Labour lose a number of key positions, while clinging onto the leadership by a single vote.

In his speech in the chamber, Cllr Ibbotson referenced disagreements with a cabinet member over the accuracy of information provided to a committee, describing it as “a matter of honour”. 

Cllr Ibbotson said “this took place in a secret section of the meeting of the environment committee in January, relating to the council’s fleet contract, which has been in the news again recently after the provider entered administration.”

“Council rules prevent disclosure of discussions relating to contracts from being made public, so frustratingly, residents of Flintshire are prevented from knowing the exact details.” 

“These contracts involve millions of pounds of public funds. It’s the bare minimum to expect cabinet members to know what’s in them, and to be able to give truthful and accurate responses to basic questions.”

Cllr Carolyn Preece (Buckley Bistre West), who also moved to Flintshire People’s Voice and was the new group’s candidate for council leader, said: “We want to work constructively to deliver for the people of Flintshire – but at the same time we will always uphold the highest standards in public office and will not support anyone who falls short of those.

“When I was first elected in 2022, I thought that the ambition I had to make my own area, and Flintshire as a whole, a better place to live would be shared across the council.”

“Unfortunately, trying to get positive change has been a thankless task.”

“It’s really felt that the administration has been stuck in a rut, and every time there’s a suggestion for improving services or saving money, the cabinet’s approach seems to be to say no before even being asked the question.”

“This can’t continue. Flintshire People’s Voice councillors will stand by the promises we were elected on, and will press Labour to do the same.”

Cllr Gillian Brockley (FPV, Aston), added “FPV have made clear by our actions that we aren’t looking for advancement within the Labour Party, we’re in this to stand up for residents.”

“That means always acting how residents would want and expect us to – even when this comes at a personal cost. We’ve proven that we’re willing to do that, and invite other councillors who feel the same way to join us.”

Flintshire People’s Voice plans to introduce a series of policy proposals that include public ownership of buses, a robust local development plan to curb speculative development, and strategies to increase local wages.

The new party is also inviting residents to join their ranks, offering them a voice in shaping the party’s direction and policies.

 

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