Elected joint chiefs for an independent group

Cllr Jeremy Pugh – Powys County Council

At present, 16 of the 17 independents elected on May 5 are grouped into a single group.

Councilor Geoff Morgan, who was leading the poll in the Ithon Valley, is now officially designated as an “unaffiliated” councilor.

On Monday May 16, the Independent Councilors met to discuss their future and elect a new leader.

This follows the defeat of former council leader and Independent Group leader Rosemarie Harris in the election.

Following a tie vote, it emerged that former cabinet member Councilor Heulwen Hulme and Action for Powys founder Councilor Jeremy Pugh will function as joint leaders, for the instant.

Cllr Hulme said: “We’re running as a joint group until the annual meeting, what happens after that I’m not too sure.”

Cllr Hulme added that Cllr Gibson-Watt has approached the group and that the group will need: “another meeting to discuss this”.

Cllr Jeremy Pugh said: “We have come together and are trying to find an acceptable way for all of us to move forward as an independent band.

“I spoke to James (Gibson-Watt) briefly.”

Cllr Pugh said Cllr Gibson-Watt is expected to set out his vision for Powys County Council – which will then be discussed by the full group.

Cllr Pugh added that he had not been offered a cabinet position and there was no “deal on the table” at the moment.

Cllr Pugh said: ‘It’s all pretty laid back – the worst thing anyone can do is rush in and find it’s a complete mess.

“I prefer to take time and put together something that could be successful.

“What matters is getting the right end result.”

The only major “original” independent group that shared power with the Conservatives had seen divisions and splits in the five years of the last administration.

This saw councilors leave to sit as non-aligned members. or form other groups such as Action for Powys and the New Powys group.

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