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New leader and deputy of Pembrokeshire’s largest council political group elected 

Councillor Huw Murphy of Newport & Dinas Ward and Cllr Anji Tinley of Garth Ward, Haverfordwest have been elected as the new leader and deputy leader of the Independent Group (IPG), replacing Cllr Jamie Adams and Cllr Elwyn Morse (both left) (Pic: Pembrokeshire County Council)

PEMBROKESHIRE’S largest council political group has elected new leaders today, May 8, who promise to be “a critical friend” of the ruling administration rather than “opposing for the sake of opposition”.

Councillor Huw Murphy of Newport & Dinas Ward and Cllr Anji Tinley of Garth Ward, Haverfordwest said they are both “delighted and honoured” to be elected as the new leader and deputy leader of the Independent Group (IPG).

In a joint statement they said: “The IG whilst in opposition will play a critical role in holding any administration to account, but will also support policies that are to the betterment of the lives of Pembrokeshire residents.

“The IG will not oppose for the sake of opposition but will always be a critical friend in representing the views and concerns of county residents, wherever they reside, be it fighting against public toilet closures or speaking up in strong support of retaining critical care at Withybush Hospital, to name but two.

“The IG will challenge decisions made which have a negative impact on residents where they believe alternative options exist and will challenge and scrutinise policy decisions when a change of priorities for the authority should be considered, when working with finite resources.”

Welsh language

The issue of Welsh language representation was also raised on the eve of the May 10 council leadership challenge between unaffiliated councillor Jon Harvey and leader of the Conservative group Di Clements.

“It has not gone unnoticed that the soon-to-be-former administration led by Cllr David Simpson has no fluent Welsh speakers and few councillors in Cabinet and senior roles (such as Chair & Vice Chair of Council and Presiding Member) that represent the northern or indeed the rural areas of Pembrokeshire.

“Indeed, most Cabinet members are from South Pembrokeshire, and will this change after Friday?

“The IG sincerely hopes that the new Cabinet formed by whoever becomes Leader on Friday will form a Cabinet to better reflect the cultural and geographical identities of Pembrokeshire thereby recognising the importance of Pembrokeshire’s rural economy and with it the Welsh Language as both are very much intertwined. Action does speak louder than words.”

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They added: “The IG is a political group which places the needs of Pembrokeshire residents at the heart of their decision making, not beholden to any political party whose national policies may not always align with what’s best for Pembrokeshire.”

‘Positive change’

They also promised to work towards a “positive change” for Pembrokeshire people.

“The role of the IG is to work towards creating a positive change within Pembrokeshire to improve the lives of residents and enhance opportunities for everybody irrespective of their background. This can only be attained through open and honest dialogue with fellow councillors and not through frivolous sound-bite politics.

“There needs to be an improvement in political behaviour, and the recent elections in England which saw a considerable increase in the number of independent councillors being elected indicates a clear disconnect with mainstream political parties.

“Pembrokeshire is a wonderful county with much to be proud of, but the council also faces significant pressures that can only be dealt with through working together to make it an even more vibrant and inclusive place to live, work and visit.

“[We] are confident that the IG will be integral to the development of lasting solutions to the many issues and concerns held by residents which can be achieved through collaboration and fostering innovation to create a better today and a positive legacy for future generations.

“The IG since the elections of May 2022 is the only political group within PCC to have grown in numbers to reflect all areas of Pembrokeshire from the more urban/industrial areas of South Pembrokeshire to the rural and more Welsh speaking heartland of Preseli Pembrokeshire with talented councillors from a diverse range of backgrounds and there is every belief that over time the IPG will continue to grow in numbers.”

Appreciation and support

Cllr Murphy replaces IPG leader Jamie Adams, leader of the council from 2012-17, and leader of the now-17-strong IPG in opposition from 2017-’24, while Cllr Anji Tinley replaces Cllr Elwyn Morse.

Cllr Murphy and Cllr Tinley extended their thanks for the appreciation and support from their predecessors, adding: “We look forward to their ongoing contribution to PCC debates in the weeks, months and years ahead,” saying of Cllr Adams: “His oratory and debating skills in chamber are very well known and respected both within Pembrokeshire and further afield”.