Posted: Thu 16th Feb 2023

Opposition pull out of Mayoral group amid claims administration ‘reran process three times’ to get own way for people living in or visiting the Wrexham area
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Feb 16th, 2023

Labour and Plaid Cymru have jointly withdrawn from the Constitutional Working Group, claiming the ruling Administration have ‘ignored the rules’ to put forward their own candidate for Mayor.

The Mayor is a non-political Civic role, being a ‘figurehead’ of the council and Wrexham County Borough and is technically the highest ranking person at any council function – unless there is royalty present. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​Convention in Wrexham sees whoever the deputy mayor is then take over the role – something scheduled for mid May.​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The Constitutional Working Group meet behind closed doors with a public output of a name emerging of the councillor that will become the Deputy Mayor, and therefore usually the Mayor a year later. We have highlighted the work before, with the conventional process working through names of councillors who are interested in the role, attendance at meetings and seniority – with time served on the council also used as a guide.

This afternoon both Labour and Plaid Cymru have said it is ‘with regret’ they ‘find they have no choice other than to withdraw their membership from the Constitutional Working Group’ adding ‘the council leader opted to waive the rules and get his preferred candidate selected as the next deputy mayor’.

It is understood Cllr Stella Matthews was nominated unopposed at a recent meeting of the Constitutional Working Group, with the meeting then deferred. Subsequently Cllr Beryl Blackmore’s name has been put forward by the ruling administration – a group she joined in mid December.

No public minutes or outcomes are known, however today’s statements indicate the usual public facing consensus around a mayoral nomination will not occur.

Labour Group Leader, Cllr Dana Davies said, “When you are faced with an anti-democratic decision of re-running a process three times to achieve a specific outcome – to benefit the largest political group on this Council – then you have to stand up and say this is not how Wrexham Council should conduct its business.

“The lack of due process is shocking and the Labour Group refuses to participate in any process that puts democracy in Wrexham at risk and ultimately brings this Council into disrepute. Make no mistake, this action has been forced upon us.”

Plaid Cymru’s group leader Marc Jones said: “The mayor is primarily decided on length of service and there was one nomination put forward to the Constitutional Working Group.

“However the Tory/Independent coalition chose to ignore the rules to ensure the process was re-opened and their own nomination was put forward. It makes a mockery of any process but we’re getting used to that with this political leadership.”

“If they want to waive the rules, then let them continue to bring this council into disrepute. We won’t be a party to those games and are withdrawing from the Constitutional Working Group until further notice.”

The current Mayor is Cllr Brian Cameron, and the Deputy Mayor is Cllr Paul Rogers – the latter appointment itself was a wrangle in the Constitutional Working Group back in September.


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