Proposals for a new administration which will lead Wrexham for the next five years will be put before Councillors at the first meeting of the new Council although there is no announcement yet on Lead Member roles.
Cllr Mark Pritchard, Leader of the Independent group; Cllr Hugh Jones, Leader of the Conservative group and Cllr David A. Bithell, Leader of the Wrexham Independents group agreed to form a new coalition to lead Wrexham Council until the next local elections in 2022.
The make-up of the new coalition will be put before the full Council on May 24th for approval – the first meeting since the local elections on May 5th.
Cllr Mark Pritchard, Leader of the Independent Group, said: “Myself, Cllr Jones and Cllr Bithell believe it is in the best interests of Wrexham Council for us to form the new coalition, which will be proposed at the meeting of the full Council on May 24th.”
“Since the election, and reflecting on the expressed wishes of the electorate, a number of discussions have taken place and we have put together what we believe to be the best coalition for the people of Wrexham, which it is intended will lead the council for the next five years.”
The new coalition will be made up of 16 members of the Independent group, nine Conservative councillors and eight members of the Wrexham Independents.
Today’s statement was thought to be due last week, with it then bumped to Monday, yesterday and into today. It appears the final Lead Member allocations will come from the floor of the Guildhall on the night rather than be pre-announced via the above release or via meeting documents.
The statement does not say who will be Council Leader or Deputy Leader but does have the only comment from former Leader Mark Pritchard, with Councillor Hugh Jones mentioned next – as a possible indication Councillor Bithell will miss out on the Deputy Leader post.
We have asked opposition groups for comment, with the first reply from Plaid Cymru’s group leader Marc Jones who said: “Wrexham voted for change – 40% of the councillors are new – yet it appears we’re getting more of the same. Plaid Cymru fought the election on a manifesto that is now our plan of action for the coming five years. We’ll be working with everyone who’s got the best interests of Wrexham at heart to make sure those policies – including new council housing, regenerating the town centre and helping local firms benefit more from council contracts – are implemented.”
We also asked if they have had any contact with Councillor Pritchard, and we are told Plaid Cymru have had no contact with him since being elected.
Councillor Rob Walsh from the Liberal Democrat group told us, “As the combined numbers are the same as before the election, it was always likely that the two Independent groups and the Conservatives would form an administration.”
“As before, the Lib Dem group will work with all councillors to do what is best for Wrexham. We will act as “critical friends”, supporting the ruling groups when they make sound decisions and challenge them when we disagree. We look forward to working with all councillors from all groups to serve the people of Wrexham.”
How they could line up…
We think Councillor Pritchard could opt for a 4 3 3 formation on the Executive Board, with the Wrexham.com Fantasy League selector machine suggesting a possible Lead Member line up as follows – with the disclaimer the following is 100% speculation and the formal line up will be revealed in the fullness of time:
- Councillor Mark Pritchard as Leader of Wrexham Council again, with Councillors David Kelly, Phil Wynn and Nigel Williams making up his four on the Independent Group.
- Cllr Bithell Leading Wrexham Independent Group along with Councillor Joan Lowe and Bill Baldwin.
- The Conservative element could be made up with a new Council Deputy Leader of Hugh Jones, with Councillors Paul Rogers and Debbie Wallice making the Executive Board.
Scrutiny Chairpersons are also set to be decided, along with other allocations, in a period of horse trading as the new administration and opposition groups forms itself into a working Council after the elections.
You can view the councillors by political grouping – complete with pictures of them to help understand who they are – via this page on the Council’s website.