Original Aarticle: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-47469897
In the last 24 hours, nine Labour Party councillors have left the party due to claims of bullying within party.
Former Labour group leader, Jeff Edmunds says the treatment of some longstanding councillors has been “appalling and totally unacceptable”.
Rob James, the current Labour Group Leader called on the defectors to quit their seats and defend them in by-elections.
Mr James became one of the youngest Labour leaders in Wales at the age of 30 last year.
The nine former Labour members of Carmarthenshire County Council and Llanelli Town Council will now sit as independents.
Mr Edmunds said in a statement that they were leaving the Labour Party with “deep regret and a heavy heart”.
“We cannot remain as members of the Labour group of councillors as we believe the current leadership is adopting bullying and harassment tactics to ‘whip’ its membership, along with other practices that we can neither accept or condone,” he said.
“We could not agree with the way the current leadership is seemingly creating a culture of ‘divide and conquer’ within the group in preference to one of harmony and unity,” he added.
The statement also claimed that more councillors may join the defectors, who say they feel like “outcasts”.
Until the defections Labour had 23 members of Carmarthenshire council, which has been run by a Plaid Cymru-Independent coalition since 2015.
In response, councillor James said he was “extremely disappointed that the former leader of the Labour group has chosen to be a divisive character in the group since losing the leadership” and had “now decided to throw his toys out of the pram and leave”.
“Politics is not about your own financial interest, it is about serving the communities that elected you,” he added.
“Residents voted for Labour councillors in these wards and it is only right that all those that have defected put themselves forward for election.”
Ein Gwlad Comment:
Constituency Labour Party, it seems have not been happy bunnies for a while, the nine councillors who have left the party are quite prominent figures.
This is not yet affecting the political balance of Llanelli Rural Council but means that the Llanelli Town council has changed officially from Labour to Independent control.
The Labour Group in County Council is seriously depleted but was already in opposition.
The defectors look like those unhappy with Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership and it does look as if some have been put under some pressure by those loyal to Jeremy.
It’s also possible a few old scores are also being settled here too.
In Carmarthenshire County Council all other independent council members are currently in the “Independent Group” which acts as a political party and are the Junior partner in coalition with Plaid Cymru, forming the Ruling Group in County Hall. Whether this new Independent ex-Labour group will join the Plaid led Coalition is as yet, unclear.
Dr. Siân Mair Caiach is Ein Gwlad’s Health and Local Government spokeswoman. She is also a member of Ein Gwlad’s Steering Committee, and a regular contributor to our News Portal.