Is winter coming for Vale Council Leader? | News

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

– Politics

by Matt DiscombeGEM Local Democracy Reporter


Two senior Vale Council cabinet members have resigned from the Conservative group in the wake of the authority’s leader being asked to step down.

Cllr Bob Penrose, the council’s cabinet member for learning and culture, has resigned from the authority’s ruling body following a challenge to the leadership of Cllr John Thomas.

And Cllr Jonathan Bird, the cabinet member for regeneration and planning, has resigned from the Conservatives but remains a member of the cabinet as an independent.

Cllr Thomas was told to step down at an annual general meeting of Vale of Glamorgan Conservatives on April 29.

Vale Conservative members have said they want Cllr Vincent Bailey to lead the authority, the Local Democracy Reporting Service has been told.

Cllr Penrose, who will now go back to sitting as an independent, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service he did not feel he could work with the new would-be leadership of the Conservative group.

“I have known John Thomas for a while and I felt the new regime wouldn’t be on the same lines of thinking,” he said.

“I had spent two years as a cabinet member and I couldn’t see the future being with the new regime.

“The division that we’ve seen (in the Conservative group) I felt got in the way of getting on and doing what was necessary.”

The LDRS is also aware of “serious discontent” from several of Cllr Thomas’ backbenchers over a number of “PR blunders”, including proposed car parking charges throughout the Vale and the proposed ‘closure’ of Llancarfan Primary School.

Cllr Penrose says he remains “absolutely convinced” the decision to move Llancarfan Primary to Rhoose was the right decision.

Cllr Thomas remains the leader of the council for now as changes to the leadership of the authority can only occur if he resigns or loses a no confidence vote at a meeting of full council. A no confidence motion would need to be tabled with 10 days’ notice.

A full council meeting scheduled to take place on Wednesday, May 1, will go ahead as planned, but the council’s annual general meeting on May 8 has been postponed.

A spokesperson for the Vale Council said: “Cllr John Thomas continues to be leader of the Vale Council.

“There has been one change to the council’s political executive. Cllr Bob Penrose has resigned from his position as cabinet member for learning and culture. This post is currently vacant. The council’s cabinet remains otherwise unchanged.

“The meeting of full council on May 1, 2019 will go ahead as planned.

“However, the resignation of two members of the Conservative group has caused the postponement of the council’s annual general meeting scheduled for May 8.

“At the AGM there is a discussion around the allocation of committee seats and chairmanships of committees. There is currently uncertainty as to how committee seats will be allocated.

“It is therefore appropriate to postpone the AGM so that the council can properly plan for that meeting and so that decisions can be made based on up-to-date political calculations.”

Matt Discombe

Local democracy reporter

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