Plaid fi­nally gets coun­cil ma­jor­ity

Coun­cil­lor moves from Labour with crit­i­cism over the party’s di­rec­tion

Carmarthen Journal - - Front Page - ROB HAR­RIES

A COUN­CIL has an over­all Plaid Cymru ma­jor­ity for the first time ever af­ter a coun­cil­lor said he was “to­tally ex­as­per­ated” with the Labour party.

Coun­cil­lor Colin Evans was a mem­ber of the Labour Party for more than 30 years, and was an executive board mem­ber at Car­marthen­shire Coun­cil when the party for­merly led the au­thor­ity up un­til 2015, but has now de­cided to switch to Plaid Cymru.

A COUN­CIL has an over­all Plaid Cymru ma­jor­ity for the first time ever af­ter a coun­cil­lor said he was “to­tally ex­as­per­ated” with the Labour party.

Coun­cil­lor Colin Evans was a mem­ber of the Labour Party for more than 30 years, and was an executive board mem­ber at Car­marthen­shire Coun­cil when the party for­merly led the au­thor­ity up un­til 2015.

Now, Mr Evans says he finds him­self “in­creas­ingly at odds with the lead­er­ship of Jeremy Cor­byn” and that he feels like the Labour Party has in fact left him, and not the other way around. “It is a re­gret­fully sad fact that I no longer recog­nise the party that I joined over 30 years ago,” said Mr Evans.

“It is true to say that I am to­tally ex­as­per­ated with the Labour Party’s cur­rent di­rec­tion of travel which is, of course, the Mo­men­tum group. I have also, over the past few years found my­self in­creas­ingly at odds with the lead­er­ship of Jeremy Cor­byn, both in terms of his neb­u­lous stance on Brexit as well as other is­sues.

“I feel that it is not so much a case of me leav­ing the Labour Party, rather that the Labour Party has left me.

“I feel there­fore that I have more in com­mon with the poli­cies, aims and ob­jec­tives of Plaid Cymru in im­prov­ing the qual­ity of life of the res­i­dents of Car­marthen­shire and the Am­man Val­ley than those of my for­mer party.”

Mr Evans’s move means that Plaid Cymru now holds 38 out of 74 seats on Car­marthen­shire Coun­cil, which it cur­rently runs in a coali­tion with in­de­pen­dent coun­cil­lors.

The coun­cil’s leader, coun­cil­lor Em­lyn Dole, called the move “highly sig­nif­i­cant”.

“I’m de­lighted that such an ex­pe­ri­enced and highly-re­spected coun­cil­lor has de­cided to join us. Colin is a pru­dent and po­lit­i­cally in­tel­li­gent per­son, so his de­ci­sion is highly sig­nif­i­cant and car­ries con­sid­er­able clout,” said Mr Dole.

“It is a recog­ni­tion of this coun­cil’s am­bi­tious and suc­cess­ful agenda in fields such as hous­ing, leisure and re­gen­er­a­tion, and our fight to de­fend ser­vices such as ed­u­ca­tion and so­cial care in the face of year-on-year cut­backs from cen­tral gov­ern­ment.”

Plaid MP Jonathan Ed­wards, who rep­re­sents the con­stituency of Car­marthen East and Dine­fwr in West­min­ster, said: “I am de­lighted to wel­come Colin, an ex­pe­ri­enced and as­tute coun­cil­lor to the Plaid Cymru team.

“We are par­tic­u­larly pleased that Colin has recog­nised the im­por­tance we have placed in de­liv­er­ing for the Am­man Val­ley. Adam Price and I look for­ward to work­ing with him closely over the com­ing months and years.”

Car­marthen shire Labour leader Rob James said: “Plaid Cymru have run Car­marthen­shire Coun­cil into the ground with on­go­ing po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tions, pupils be­ing thrown off school buses and savage cuts to lo­cal ser­vices.

“We will not be dis­tracted in high­light­ing the fail­ures and we look for­ward to the up­com­ing elec­tion to air those views.”

Veteran coun­cil­lor Colin Evans, pic­tured with MP Jonathan Ed­wards, who has crossed the floor at Car­marthen­shire Coun­cil to join Plaid Cymru. Main im­age, County Hall, Car­marthen, home of Car­marthen­shire Coun­cil.

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