Conservatives to share power in Powys

By Twm Owen in Local People

The Conservative Party has taken power in Powys - joining the cabinet as junior partners to the Independent Group.

Independent councillor Rosemarie Harris was elected chairman of the council at today’s annual general meeting - becoming the authority’s first ever woman leader.

She then announced she had been holding talks with the Conservative group and would appoint four Tory councillors to her 10 member cabinet. The cabinet will have six members from Cllr Harris’ Independent Group.

Cllr Harris said: "We can work in cooperation, collaboration, coalition. Whatever you call it."

The Independent Group, which includes all the council’s independent members, has 30 councillors and the Conservatives group has 19 councillors.

The deal means Cllr Harris easily has the 37 required for a majority on the council.

Cllr Harris, who was the only nomination for council leader, had 49 councillors voting in her favour.

There were 20 abstentions while one councillor voted against and another spoiled their ballot paper.

The council had previously been run by independents, who shared power between three different groups, but slipped into no overall control at May’s elections with the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats making gains and Plaid Cymru and the Greens winning their first seats on the council.

The big winners at the election where the Conservatives who won nine additional seats, and have turned those gains into a share of executive power. Gaining a share of power was Conservative group leader Aled Davies’ stated aim going into the elections.

The Liberal Democrats, who have 13 councillors, will remain the official opposition while Labour has seven councillors.

Plaid has two members and have formed a group with the council’s only Green Party councillor.

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