Wales politics

Plaid Cymru Conwy leader defies party on Tory coalition

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Media captionGareth Jones says he is "not here to play politics at any level"

The leader of Conwy council has said he may quit Plaid Cymru after forming a cabinet with Conservatives in defiance of what he called a "diktat" from his party bosses.

Gareth Jones told a meeting of the full council on Monday that party politics "should not distract us".

However, two other Plaid members named as members of the cabinet have quit.

Plaid Cymru said it was a proudly grassroots party "governed by the will of its membership".

The former Plaid Cymru AM announced earlier in June he wanted to appoint a cabinet representing all groups after no party won a majority in May's local election.

However, on Friday Plaid Cymru's national executive committee rejected the proposal to include Conservatives in his administration.

The cabinet is currently made up of two Plaid Cymru councillors - including Mr Jones - five Conservative and one independent. Labour had declined the invitation.

Mr Jones said he wanted to reassure people there was "no impasse with delivering services" and the council was "proceeding with full speed".

Image copyright Meirion/Geograph
Image caption Conwy council offices in Bodlondeb

Presenting his team to the full council, Mr Jones said: "I respect the people of Conwy and how they voted. That's what's important, not a diktat that isn't democratic.

"Party politics should have no place here and should not distract us."

A party spokeswoman said: "Plaid Cymru is a proudly grassroots party that is governed by the will of its membership.

"Gareth Jones' proposals were put to the party's National Executive Committee where they were rejected in a democratic vote.

"Plaid Cymru will not enter into this proposed coalition on Conwy council."

Party leader Leanne Wood met Conwy's Plaid Cymru councillors following the full council meeting.

When asked if Mr Jones would remain a member of Plaid Cymru, she replied: "You'll have to ask him".

Mr Jones said he was likely to stay on as leader, but not in the name of Plaid Cymru.

"I believe that the way forward would be for me to relinquish that [membership], to maintain the leadership and try again to persevere towards this consensus," he said.

"It might be a more positive step forward that I do that as an independent than in the name of Plaid Cymru."

Mr Jones is expected to make a final decision after a meeting of the local Plaid Cymru branch on Tuesday.

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