LOCAL ELECTIONS 2022: Success for Lib Dems but no overall majority in Powys

By Ariane Brumwell   |   Reporter   |
Saturday 7th May 2022 2:00 pm
@MissAzzaB
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Ballot boxes inset over a photo of Powys County Hall
(Brecon & Radnor Express )

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While the election count has ended, the full future of Powys County Council is still yet to be decided as none of the groups won overall control.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats would have been celebrating last night as they gained 11 seats across Powys taking them to a total of 24.

While the Lib Dems do not have a majority, they now hold the most seats on the local authority - one of the parties would have needed 34 seats to win a majority.

The Lib Dems stormed ahead in the count, especially as the Brecon and Radnorshire results were revealed, as they surpassed the independents and the Conservatives.

Powys seats
The 2022 seats in Powys and how they’ve changed since the 2017 election (Tindle ) (Tindle)

Powys has traditionally been a stronghold for independent candidates.

In the last local election in 2017, there was a coalition between independents and the Welsh Conservatives, however for decades before it had been led by independent candidates.

At yesterday’s count, the independents - including Action for Powys and the non-aligned members - gained only 17 out of the 68 available seats on Powys council.

The independents lost a devastating 13 seats at the polling stations on Thursday, May 5.

Former Powys leader Rosemarie Harris lost her seat in the election as her ward, Llangynidr, was merged with the ward of re-elected Cllr Jackie Charlton who previously represented Llangattock.

Ms Harris told LDRS reporter Elgan Hearn in a video, which can be seen below, that she felt it was partly down to wards being merged that caused the loss for the independents.

However, it is also thought that Powys council’s rural school closures along with the council tax rise also influenced the drop in votes for independents and the Conservatives.

The Welsh Conservatives, who joined the independents in coalition in 2017, lost five seats in this year’s local elections.

Brecon and Radnorshire now only have one Tory councillor which is Iain McIntosh of Yscir with Honddu Isaf and Llanddew ward.

The elections also saw different cabinet members lose their positions on Powys council including: former education portfolio holder Phyl Davies of the Welsh Conservatives; former portfolio holder for young people and culture, independent Rachel Powell; and, former adult social care and Welsh language portfolio holder, independent Myfanwy Alexander.

Some of the independent seats had also previously been held by longstanding councillors who chose to retire, such as Michael Jones with Old Radnor for 37 years and Colonel Tim Van Rees with Llanwrtyd Wells for around 40 years.

A pie chart showing how Powys council’s seats are divided
A pie chart showing how Powys council’s seats are divided (Tindle ) (Tindle)

The independents will now have to elect a new leader, meanwhile, other group leaders will be in discussion with Powys Lib Dem leader James Gibson-Watt over the weekend to decide on the future of Powys council’s cabinet.

Cllr Gibson-Watt posted on Facebook: “My sincere thanks to the people of the area for putting their trust in me once more; and particular thanks to Rhodri for being such a courteous and good-natured opponent.

“The Welsh Liberal Democrats now form the largest group on Powys CC. We aim to use that position to change Powys into a more open and accountable council, listening to local residents and placing the sustainability and economic health of local communities and the county at the heart of the council’s priorities.”

It was also a good day for Welsh Labour as it gained two seats in Powys taking it to a total of nine seats which are all located in Breconshire and Radnorshire.

Plaid Cymru gained a seat taking it to three seats on Powys Council and the Green Party maintained its one seat in Montgomeryshire.

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