Connect with us
Advertisement
Advertisement

News

New council group will tip balance of power

Published

on

meeting2

Councillors outside the meeting on Sunday night (August 3)

THE HERALD can exclusively reveal that a meeting took place at the Milford Haven home of IPPG County Councillor Stephen Joseph tonight at which members of Pembrokeshire council’s ruling independent group (IPPG) discussed plans to form a new party.

Cllr Joseph has said that his new party will be called ‘Pembrokeshire First’ and will have the slogan ‘people not politics’.

A number of County Councillors were spotted entering Cllr Joseph’s home and a tip off led to Herald Editor Tom Sinclair heading to the scene of the get-­together.

As a result, we are able to disclose that attending the rendezvous were IPPG County Councillors Lyn Jenkins (Solva), Mark Edwards (Haverfordwest: Prendergast), and Labour member Alison Lee (Pembroke Dock Central).

POWER SHIFT

The new group would take notional overall control of the authority away from Jamie Adams’ IPPG coalition and could significantly affect the balance of power on the Council, including the ability of the IPPG leaders to use patronage to persuade disaffected members to remain under the IPPG umbrella.

While the IPPG would remain the largest group on the Council, the new grouping would be able to assert a right to seats on key Council committees.

The Herald has previously reported growing disquiet within the IPPG about the group’s defence of embattled CEO Bryn Parry Jones and the series of scandals that has engulfed the Council under his stewardship. In recent key votes the IPPG has depended upon the support of supposedly “unaffiliated” Councillors ­ such as Phil Kidney (Manorbier) and Owen James (Scleddau) ­ to boost its backing in key votes. Cllr James votes so frequently with the IPPG that he seems to be a “banker” vote for the Group in close calls.

The IPPG has also been able to rely on the occasional support of former Tory leader Stan Hudson (Milford Haven North), who sat on the Senior Staff Committee that made the decision to make unlawful payments to the Council’s CEO.

Speaking exclusively to The Herald, Cllr Joseph said: “At the present time no councillors have decided to join my new party. I called a meeting of friends and collegues to discuss my plans to launch Pembrokeshire People First. The wise man takes counsel from many advisors.”

MUDSLINGING AND SELF-PRESERVATION

He added: “My reasons for starting this party is that there is too much mud slinging at the council, and not enough positive stuff goes on. The culture at county hall is just self preservation, mud slinging, and people there for their own political gain. These are not the reasons why people should be county councillors. I made it clear to the councillors who came to the meeting tonight that I was not trying to recruit them. I wanted them to see my plans and then go home and sleep on it. They will make their decisions in their own time.”

Speaking about who will lead the new party, Cllr Joseph said: “After Pembrokeshire First has been operational for a few months I will hold an election to decide who the leader of the group will be.”

stevej

Cllr Joseph wants positive change for Pembrokeshire

Cllr Joseph told The Herald: “When implementing change we need to focus on building the new, and not fighting the old.”

Herald Editor, Thomas Sinclair, asked Cllr Joseph if he thought that the change in the balance of power would mean the end for Bryn Parry Jones. Cllr Joseph replied: “Yes, I hope so – that would be a positive step. But Bryn Parry Jones is not the only problem at County Hall – there are other things that need to be put right too.”

ASHAMED TO BE A COUNCILLOR

Cllr Joseph said: “I recently was wearing my Council ID badge whilst buying petrol. I don’t often wear it but for some reason I had it on that day. I noticed a woman looking at the badge and reading it. I felt ashamed and took it off. I want to be be proud to represent Pembrokeshire County Council, not embarrassed. Hopefully with this new party I will be able to proud to be a Councillor again. I want people to feel proud about Pembrokeshire.”

He added: “I voted for secrecy at the last council meeting when Bryn’s pension was being discussed because it would have been legally incorrect to discuss it in public. He is legally entitled to privacy, just like any other council employee. However, that does not mean that I am supporting Bryn Parry Jones’ pension in any way. I did receive criticism for that, but was voting for what was legally correct.”

FACEBOOK ANNOUNCEMENT

Cllr Joseph made an announcement on his personal Facebook page. He wrote: “I joined the Independent Group as I believed it was the right thing for my ward and for Milford. I have been banging my head against a brick wall, arguing for change for many months now. This has been both in private meetings and in public. Today I decided to leave the Independent Group and have written to every county councillor inviting them to join me. If I stand alone, so be it but hopefully some will decide to stand with me. The invitation has gone to all councillors because I am not starting a political party but want to work with a group of councillors who want to do what is right for their towns and Pembrokeshire as a whole.”

“The group is called Pembrokeshire First – people not politics. The first challenge is to get rid of the captain on the ship but the whole culture of the council needs to change. Some councillors are very vocal on fb but are just interested in promoting their own political careers and that needs to change too. Pembrokeshire Council needs to be about the people not about politics.”

“My phone number is 07785 685 035 if anyone wants to talk further about where I stand or how they can support this new revolt!”

REACTION FROM THE PEMBROKESHIRE ALLIANCE

Cllr Bob Kilmister of The Pembrokeshire Alliance was one of the first with a reaction to the news. Posting on social media, he said: “I welcome any Councillors who leave the IPPG and there is no doubt they are doing the right thing. What confuses me though is the statement from Steve Joseph which says, ” The ‘Pembrokeshire First’ party is not a political party. In my view, politics has no place in the council and I am not proposing myself as the ‘leader’ but merely facilitating change. A leader can be elected by those that come forward in the coming months. We should all be making decisions for the best for our wards and the county not for political reasons.”

Cllr Kilmister added: “The first thing you have to do when starting a new group within the council is elect a leader. You cannot wait. The other issue is what do they want to see happen, there is no vision but I fully accept that could come later. We set our Group up last November and it has taken a great deal of time and effort and money to get where we are now. Our Group was set up to allow disgruntled IPPG Councillors find another home, so I really hope they talk to me as we have so much in common. I have written to the Councillors mentioned and hope to speak with them soon.”

CLLR JOSEPH IS ABANDONING A SINKING SHIP, SAYS PLAID

Council Plaid leader Cllr Michael Williams said: “It must have been very clear to Cllr Stephen Joseph well before he joined the IPPG what he was getting in to.”

“What we see now is a person with no principles abandoning a sinking ship as the entire corrupt edifice begins to crumble, he is simply seeking to save his own skin. He has looked very at home with his IPPG colleagues, who include Rob lewis who misled the ombudsman ,and used electoral practises which wouldn’t be allowed in a banana republic, together with Jamie Adams, the ultimate master of the half truth, and one must not forget that that paragon of virtue, Brian Hall was a leading light of this group well before Stephen Joseph jumped ship the first time.”
He added: “He claims that his motive is concerns about Bryn Parry Jones. The problem goes well beyond the CEO, it comes from a complete lack of political leadership, which has allowed senior officers to set the agenda.”

Cllr Williams went on to say: “Time for a change? Certainly – but are the likes of Cllr Kilmister and Cllr Stock the answer? Cllr Stock has since 1996 been a bulwark of a corrupt system, and is another that seeks self preservation by seeking to reinvent himself.”

Plaid’s leader concluded by saying: “Cllr Stephen Joseph has let down his electorate. He replaced Mrs Anne Hughes, and just what did Milford get? I will leave that question for others to answer.”

THE LEADER SPEAKS OUT

In a prepared statement, Cllr Jamie Adams, Council Leader said:

“I am sorry that Steve has decided to leave the Independent Plus Group. I didn’t always see eye-to-eye with him, but I respected his commitment to achieve a more positive position for the residents of Milford Haven, which I share.

Needless to say, I don’t accept the picture that Steve has sought to create in his letter to all councillors. Pembrokeshire has good and improving services, the lowest Council Tax in Wales and, compared to others, low charges for many of its services.

I am thankful that the majority of my colleagues on the Council have demonstrated their ability to rise above the petty vendettas pursued by some and maintain a focus on the long-term. I am also grateful to those Members who have sought to engage in our attempts to improve personal relationships within the Authority. Pembrokeshire’s future must come before any desire to satisfy the headline writers.”

 

A LETTER TO ALL COUNCILLORS

The Herald can bring you the full text of a letter that Cllr. Joseph has sent to all councillors:

Dear Councillor,
Tonight I have decided that I cannot continue being a councillor in Pembrokeshire as long as the current culture exists.  I cannot be a part of a regime that continues to support Bryn Parry Jones. He is the captain of our ship and after hitting so many ice bergs, there comes a time when the captain has to take responsibility for the series of mistakes. 
On one hand we are told that we cannot discuss his pension openly because he is an employee with employee’s rights (which is why I voted as I did), yet on the other hand there is an investigation into him and yet he maintains his position. Any other employee would be suspended pending the outcome of the inquiry.
This is obviously a huge issue which needs to change but there is also a wider issue for me. The current culture is one of fear & frustration, people being bought with promises of positions and others opposing right decisions merely because of who proposes them or for individuals own political gain. 
There should be a culture of doing what is right with integrity and moving forward. Given the budget cuts, we have huge issues to discuss and these are not being discussed because of the unhealthy situation we have in the chamber.
For as long as I’m not standing against the current situation, by default I am contributing to it, so I have to make a stand for what is right. I will be leaving the IPPG group this evening, not to join another political group but to stand with anyone who wants to join me in making right decisions for the people of our wards and the people of Pembrokeshire. 
The ‘Pembrokeshire First’ party is not a political party. In my view, politics has no place in the council and I am not proposing myself as the ‘leader’ but merely facilitating change. A leader can be elected by those that come forward in the coming months. We should all be making decisions for the best for our wards and the county not for political reasons.
The biggest issue is obviously Bryn as captain of the ship but this is not just about him, it’s about the cabinet system and the culture that currently exists in the council – a culture of control and preserving peoples positions of power.
I want to work for a change of culture. The long term goal is to see 60 councillors having equal say, in all the important issues facing. I know it is a big task changing the system but unless someone takes a stand, it will never change. There are a lot of positives in PCC, which aren’t even acknowledged, let alone celebrated. The current situation is rotten to the core. I have tried my hardest to fight the status quo but to no avail. Socrates said “the secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” So that’s what I intend to do. The people of Pembrokeshire are crying out for change, the morale amongst employees of PCC is rock bottom. It is time to draw a line in the sand.
If you want to make a stand too, no matter what your political allegiances are, then let me know. I firmly believe that each one of us became a councillor for the right reasons.
It is time again for all of us to do what is right. 
Steve Joseph

 

 

 

 

Continue Reading
14 Comments

14 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

News

Rider of a motorbike taken to hospital following collision with a car

Published

on

A COLLISION which involved a car and a motorbike on Friday afternoon (Jun 18) saw one person being transferred to hospital.

Dyfed-Powys Police have confirmed that the collision, which happened at approximately 1.17pm at Dwrbach, Scleddau, involved a white Seat Ibiza and a black Suzuki motorbike.

The Herald understands that the accident happened at a junction near The Gate Inn public house.

The incident caused the road to be closed while emergency services dealt with the situation.

The rider of the motorbike was transferred to Glangwili Hospital for treatment.

A Police spokesperson said: “Dyfed-Powys Police attended a two vehicle road traffic collision which occurred in Scleddau, Fishguard early Friday afternoon, June18th 2021.

“The collision involved a white Seat Ibiza and a black Suzuki motorbike. The rider of the motorbike was taken to hospital.

“The road was closed for emergency services to deal with the collision.”

A rapid response vehicle and an ambulance were dispatched to the scene.

A Welsh Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We were called to attend a road traffic collision involving a motorcycle at Dwrbach, Fishguard at 1.17pm on Friday 18 June. We sent one rapid response vehicle and one emergency ambulance. One patient was taken to Glangwili Hospital for further treatment.”

Continue Reading

News

Residents urged to be alert to Covid-19 symptoms following cluster of cases

Published

on

PUBLIC HEALTH WALES, Pembrokeshire County Council and Hywel Dda University Health Board are urging members of the public to be alert to COVID-19 symptoms following the identification of a cluster of cases in the Tenby area.

The 22 confirmed cases are linked to social and sporting events and local schools and have generated a large number of contactssince the first cases were confirmed on Saturday, 12 June. 

A number of individuals, including pupils, are currently isolating and close contacts of the positive cases continue to be traced.

From Monday 21 June to Sunday 4 July, a mobile testing unit will be available for local residents in and around Tenby to access if they have symptoms.

This is based at Salterns Car Park, Marsh Road, Tenby, SA70 8DU.  To book a test visit the UK portal https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or ring 119.

Residents can protect themselves and others from Coronavirus by remaining at least two metres away from everyone else, washing their hands regularly, and by wearing a face covering where required. 

The virus disperses in a well ventilated environment, so opening windows and allowing fresh air to circulate is another way to keep ourselves safe.

Residents should take up the vaccine when offered, and self-isolate and get a test if they or anyone in their household develop symptoms.

As well as the three most common symptoms of Coronavirus – a fever, a new continuous cough, or a loss/change of taste and smell – people with any of the following, wider symptoms that are persistent and/or unusual for them are also strongly encouraged to get a PCR test:

  • Mild summer cold symptoms – including sore throat, runny nose, headache
  • Flu-like symptoms, including myalgia (muscle ache or pain); excessive tiredness; persistent headache; runny nose or blocked nose; persistent sneezing; sore throat and/or hoarseness, shortness of breath or wheezing
  • Generally feeling unwell and a history of being in contact with a known COVID-19 case
  • Any new or change in symptoms following a previous negative test

If you have any of the above symptoms, even if you have been vaccinated, please stay home and book a PCR test through the UK portal https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or ringing 119.

When booking your PCR test, you will also be asked about your symptoms: if you have wider summer cold or flu-like symptoms as described above, rather than the classic three symptoms, choose ‘None of these symptoms’ and then choose one of the following options to enable you to complete the booking:

• My local council or health protection team has asked me to get a test, even though I do not have symptoms or

• A GP or other healthcare professional has asked me to get a test.

Continue Reading

News

Paul Davies submits views to Health Board Consultation

Published

on

Senedd Member Paul Davies has fed his views into Hywel Dda University Health Board’s consultation, “Building a Healthier Future after Covid-19.”

In response to the Health Board’s proposals, Mr Davies has made it clear that he opposes any movements to centralise or downgrade services at Withybush hospital.

Mr Davies said, “I cannot emphasise how important this consultation is and so I’d urge everyone across Pembrokeshire to read through the Health Board’s proposals and make their views known. In my submission, I’ve made it crystal clear that the people of Pembrokeshire should not have to travel further for vital health services.

“I want to see Hywel Dda start prioritising Pembrokeshire by investing in services at Withybush hospital so that it can support people living and working across the county.

“There’s still time to feed into the consultation and have your say on the Health Board’s plans. The deadline is Monday, June 21 and you can find more information here – https://www.haveyoursay.hduhb.wales.nhs.uk/building-a-healthier-future-after-covid-19.” 

Continue Reading
News12 hours ago

Residents urged to be alert to Covid-19 symptoms following cluster of cases

PUBLIC HEALTH WALES, Pembrokeshire County Council and Hywel Dda University Health Board are urging members of the public to be...

News12 hours ago

Paul Davies submits views to Health Board Consultation

Senedd Member Paul Davies has fed his views into Hywel Dda University Health Board’s consultation, “Building a Healthier Future after...

News1 day ago

Reminder from Pembrokeshire Coast National Park to pre-book for attractions

MEMBERS of the public are being reminded to pre-book their entry tickets before visiting two popular National Park Authority-run attractions....

News1 day ago

Haverfordwest and Cardigan high streets listed as among the ten worst in Britain

TWO west Wales high streets have been listed in a UK wide report detailing Britain’s worst high streets. In the...

News4 days ago

Lifeboats and chopper in major air sea rescue off the coast of Tenby

TWO RNLI lifeboats from both Tenby and Angle stations have been launched to assist a coastguard helicopter which has been...

News4 days ago

Organisers urged to read guidance on holding Covid-aware events

ORGANISERS planning to hold events in Pembrokeshire are being urged to read guidance published by the Welsh Government. The Welsh...

News4 days ago

Four men arrested as armed police swoop on Hubberston address

ARMED police and specialist dog handlers swooped on an address in Hubberston, Milford Haven on Wednesday night (Jun 16). The...

News5 days ago

Heatherton expansion approved

• Committee overturns officers’ objections • Economic benefits outweigh other impacts • Conditions must not delay development THE COUNCIL’s Planning...

News5 days ago

Milford Haven: Christmas cosmetics thief caged

A MIDLANDS shop lifter caught stealing £2200 worth of cosmetics and skin care products from Boots in Milford Haven just...

News6 days ago

Major blaze destroys well known Tenby chip shop

EMERGENCY services have sealed off part of Tenby following a major fire at a chip shop. Fire fighters rushed to...

Popular This Week