June 2004

LABOUR BATTERED IN CALDICOT
The Labour Party lost its longstanding domination of county and town council seats in the local government elections on 10 June. Three of its five county councillors were defeated as Dave Ashwin (Green Lane Ward) and Ron Stewart (Caldicot Castle Ward) became the first Plaid Cymru Councillors ever to be elected to Monmouthshire County Council. In West End Ward local chip shop owner Jimmy Harris completed the battering of Labour by taking the ward as an independent Candidate. Former Labour County Councillor Graham Powell, who had been dropped by Labour, stood as an Independent candidate in Severn Ward but was heavily defeated by Labour’s Jim Higginson. Partly as a result of labour’s setbacks in Caldicot, Monmouthshire County Council passed into Conservative control.

Labour suffered an equally humiliating series of reverses in the town council elections. Plaid Cymru emerged as the largest party with seven councillors. Labour have five and there are five independents. It is believed that this is the first time since its creation in 1974 that Labour has failed to control the town council.

RESULTS

CALDICOT CASTLE WARD
Ron Stewart Plaid Cymru 228
Richard Harries Conservative 213
Gareth Jenkins Labour 197

DEWSTOW WARD
William Edwards Labour 238
Julie Fry Independent 142
John Marshall Plaid Cymru 133
Nicholas Pain Conservative 49

GREEN LANE WARD
David Ashwin Plaid Cymru 219
David Evans Labour 165
Paul Tidmarsh Independent 108
Colin Babb Independent 79
Leslie Harris Conservative 60

SEVERN WARD
Jim Higginson Labour 201
Joanne Daniels Plaid Cymru 176
Graham Powell Independent 100
Penelope Howe Conservative 76


WEST END WARD
James Harris Independent 329
Elaine Davies Labour 170

TOWN COUNCIL RESULTS

CALDICOT CASTLE WARD: 3 SEATS

RON STEWART PLAID CYMRU ELECTED (421)
GARETH JENKINS LABOUR ELECTED (302)
DEBORAH JONES PLAID CYMRU ELECTED (278)
Judith Villa Independent Not elected

DEWSTOW WARD: 4 SEATS

WILLIAM EDWARDS LABOUR ELECTED (293)
SUSAN WILLIAMS LABOUR ELECTED (266)
JULIA HASKEY PLAID CYMRU ELECTED (257)
ROBERT KING PLAID CYMRU ELECTED (255)
Andrew Huntley Plaid Cymru Not elected
William Llewellyn Labour Not elected
John Marshall Plaid Cymru Not elected
Thomas Thomas Labour Not elected

GREEN LANE WARD: 4 SEATS

DAVID ASHWIN PLAID CYMRU ELECTED (308)
PAUL TIDMARSH INDEPENDENT ELECTED (307)
COLIN BABB INDEPENDENT ELECTED (245)
JULIE ROBERTS PLAID CYMRU ELECTED (245)
Robert Llewellyn Labour Not elected
Cindy McOwen Plaid Cymru Not elected
Julian Porter Plaid Cymru Not elected

SEVERN WARD: 3 SEATS

KENNETH THOMAS INDEPENDENT ELECTED (291)
JIM HIGGINSON LABOUR ELECTED (212)
JOANNE DANIELS PLAID CYMRU ELECTED (209)
David Evans Labour Not elected
Phyllis Higginson Labour Not elected
Graham Powell Independent Not elected

WEST END: 3 SEATS

JAMES HARRIS INDEPENDENT ELECTED (365)
ELAINE DAVIES LABOUR ELECTED (228)
KEVIN BEVAN INDEPENDENT ELECTED (164)
Graham Morgan Plaid Cymru Not elected
Bruce Robertson Plaid Cymru Not elected
Earl Harvey Labour Not elected

At the first town council meeting following the election it became apparent that three of the Independent councillors had formed a bloc with the Plaid Cymru councillors to form a working majority. As a result Ron Stewart was chosen as Mayor and Paul Tidmarsh as Deputy Mayor.

The new administration made it clear that it was intent on making a number of changes. The usual reception for invited guests at the leisure centre which follows the mayor’s formal inauguration is to be replaced by tea at the church hall, open to all. In an exercise in open government the council is to publish its agendas and minutes on the internet (accessed through www.caldicot.com). The council is also looking to save money by transferring the cemetery to the control of Monmouthshire County Council.

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