Councillor leaves Tory group on Powys County Council claiming the Tory association was not acting for the good of the community

Another councillor has left Powys County Council’s Conservative group, the third in less than a month.

Mark Barnes
Mark Barnes

Councillor Mark Barnes who represents the Newtown Llanllwchaiarn West ward, who will now be known as a non-aligned Conservative, said: “The Montgomery Conservative Association is not acting for the good of the community and there has been a lack of integrity over a couple of issues meaning that I can no longer recommend them to the people of my ward.”

He left the Conservative group in June 2019 but re-joined later that year.

In December Councillor Iain McIntosh resigned from both the cabinet and the group in a live an online cabinet meeting moments after Cradoc primary school which is in his ward was condemned to closure as part of a shake up and merger of schools in the Brecon area.

He said: "“I’m really sorry to see Mark leave the Conservative group and I sympathise entirely with his reasons for leaving. This means the group is now down to 12 members, from 20 who were part of the group when I was elected in 2017.

“The Conservative group has achieved a lot since then, but some decisions that have been made, such as council tax increases and school closures, which go against the party’s manifesto, have resulted in far too many group departures.”

He added that there should be no rise in Council Tax for next year, following the Welsh Government announcement just before Christmas that Powys will receive an extra £18 million of funding.

Due to his Senedd workload former council cabinet member and now Conservative MS for Brecon and Radnorshire, James Evans resigned at the New Year.

With Mr Evans’ former Gwernyfed ward left vacant until the May election, this effectively means Powys now has 72 councillors.

The resignations leave the Independent/Conservative coalition with 35 members, during the final few months of its administration.

If all 37-opposition group and non-aligned councillors vote together, they could reject the 2022/23 budget when it’s voted on, in a few weeks’ time.

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