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Largest opposition group to Labour on Torfaen Council disbands

The Civic Centre in Pontypool
Torfaen Council's Civic Centre

Members of the largest opposition group to Labour on Torfaen Council have all said they no longer want to be part of the group.

Torfaen Council is made up of 40 councillors representing residents across 18 Wards. Labour holds 30 seats and the rest are made up of Independents.

Following May’s local government elections, seven independent councillors got together to form the Independent Group. One of the group Nick Jones, Llantarnam Ward, was newly elected in May but a report to tomorrow’s Council meeting says that he stood down as a councillor on 14 November 2022 with ‘immediate effect’.

The other six councillors have informed the council that now want to be Independent councillors who are not part of a group. The six are:

  • Alan Slade, Llantarnam Ward
  • Elizabeth Haynes, St Dials Ward
  • Catherine Bonera, St Dials Ward
  • Mark Jones, Pontypool Fawr Ward
  • Chris Tew, Abersychan Ward
  • David Thomas, Llantarnam Ward

Cllr Slade said: “Unlike mainstream political parties, Independent Groups are not bound by a rule book and each member is free to represent their ward as they seem fit. In this instance, there was a falling out over an issue that some members felt was a single-ward issue whilst others did not. Once a number of members had resigned from the group it was unsustainable to continue.” He also told Cwmbran Life that Cllr Nick Jones had told him he did not want to be contacted by the media.

Cllr Bonera said: “I resigned from the group to be a stand-alone independent and It was the best decision for me. Others followed and as far as I am aware, those that left are now all stand-alone Independents, as we have not formed another group.”

Cwmbran Life contacted Cllr Haynes, Cllr Mark Jones, Cllr Tew and Cllr Thomas for comment.

Since May’s election three Independent councillors formed the Torfaen Independent Group and this is now the largest opposition group to Labour. The three are:

  • Ron Burnett, Two Locks Ward
  • Nick Horlor, Blaenavon Ward
  • Janet Jones, Blaenavon Ward

The disbanding of the Independent Group means that the membership of ten council committees will be changed to reflect the new political balance of the council.

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Largest opposition group to Labour on Torfaen Council disbands