South West Wales

Swansea councillor Veronyca Bates Hughes quits Lib Dems

A Liberal Democrat councillor has resigned from the party and the coalition running Swansea council.

It means the Lib Dem-led administration no longer has a majority.

Veronyca Bates Hughes, who represents Cockett, said she was disillusioned with party politics and she will be a "non-aligned independent green".

Council leader Chris Holley said she had not spoken to him, and it made life more complicated, but the administration would continue.

She claimed Lib Dem, Labour and Conservative councillors were more interested in "grandstanding" than serving the city's electorate.

In a statement she said: "The calibre of many councillors is extremely poor.

"The political debate is characterised by vicious insults and a preference for grandstanding to the public gallery rather than informed political debate.

"But what really concerns me is the number of councillors in the three main political parties (Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem) who seem to view being elected not as a privilege and an opportunity to serve the people of Swansea . . . but simply a means to acquire a not inconsiderable amount of money for doing nothing.

"I cannot do anything about the Labour and Conservative groups, but I can do something about my involvement in the Lib Dems, particularly as I feel that as the senior partner in the administration we should lead by example."

There are now 36 councillors in the coalition and 36 in opposition.

Mr Holley said losing a majority "makes life a bit more complicated" but the administration, which also includes independents and a Plaid Cymru councillor, would carry on.

"I think people will recognise that we've worked very hard over the last seven years," he added.

He said there had been improvements to schools in Swansea with fewer pupils leaving without any qualifications.

He also said the administration had delivered a new leisure centre, new central library, new bus station and a new retail development in the city centre.

Last year Conservative group leader Rene Kinzett was investigated by the public services ombudsman for Wales for claiming some members of the council were "past it" and describing two cabinet members as "useless".

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