THE latest councillor to join Pembrokeshire’s Independent Group – the third this year – will create a greater opportunity to scrutinise the council’s Cabinet, its leader Jamie Adams has said.
Councillor Vanessa Thomas, formerly an unaffiliated member for Carew and Jeffreyston, has now joined the largest group on the council, the Independent Group, bringing its number to 16.
Earlier this year, two other unaffiliated councillors joined the group: Cllr Anji Tinley and Cllr Alan Dennison, with Cllr Thomas making the third since January.
All three were new members of the county council, elected last May.
This means the political makeup of the council is now 19 non-affiliated members, 16 Independent Group members, 11 Welsh Conservatives, 10 Labour, two Plaid Cymru and two Welsh Liberal Democrats.
Despite being the largest single group, the Independent Group is not the ruling group on the council.
Cllr Thomas said: “My move to the Independent group was focused on feeling the need to be part of a group dynamic, whilst still being able to support my local community, and therefore the constituents who have elected me to this important position.
“My aim has always been to give of my time and energy in focusing on my ward of Carew and Jeffreyston, whilst looking to the wider area of Pembrokeshire, helping to improve and strengthen the county in which we live.”
She added: “Cllr Tinley, and Cllr Dennison, have both recently moved to the Independent group. They are incredibly dedicated and hardworking individuals, who work tirelessly for their respective wards of Haverfordwest Garth and Milford Haven North.
“We are all very much looking forward to focusing on the aims and values of the group and the matters which are important to us, whilst also scrutinising and questioning the decisions of Cabinet both fairly and openly.”
Independent Group Leader Jamie Adams said: “We are delighted to welcome Cllr Thomas into the Independent Group; she is someone who has immediately hit the ground running in terms of her desire to improve her local community and the services her constituents receive.”
He said one of the issues he shared with Cllr Thomas was his concern at recent overspends on capital projects in the county by the current Cabinet.
He added: “Vanessa’s involvement continues the steady progress of building our numbers following Cllr Tinley and Cllr Dennison.
“This affords a greater opportunity to ensure that the administration and their supporters within council are effectively held accountable for their decisions and the delivery capability over which they preside.
“We will continue to be a group that holds members to account robustly and not obstructively in the interest of improving services and outcomes.”
The Independent Group membership now consists of Jamie Adams, John T Davies, Alan Dennison, Brian Hall, Delme Harris, Michael James, Michael John, Peter Morgan, Elwyn Morse, Huw Murphy, Reg Owens, Shon Rees, Vanessa Thomas, Anji Tinley, Iwan Ward, and Simon Wright.