LABOUR in Blaenau Gwent has welcomed an extra councillor to its ranks.
Just days after the local government election results on Friday, May 6, Carl Bainton, who was elected in the Ebbw Vale South ward on an Independent ticket, announced on Facebook that he decided to join Labour.
The decision means that Labour now have 22 councillors out of a total of 33 on Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council.
Carl Bainton had previously stood in the 2017 local government election for Labour as a candidate in the Ebbw Vale North ward.
Cllr Bainton said:
“Over the weekend I have done some really difficult soul-searching and reflection on the results, particularly in how I may best serve the ward and its constituents going forward.
“After speaking to a number of ward residents, I decided that I would best serve my community by aligning myself with the Welsh Labour Party in Blaenau Gwent.
“I know that this difficult decision that I have made will be controversial for some people, but I believe that it is the correct decision in beginning to make a real difference in our area.
“This is a decision that I feel needed to be made sooner than later and is not based on anything other than wanting the best for the ward of Ebbw Vale South.
“I would like to be judged on my work, results and performance as a councillor regardless of which party I am a member.”
Labour group leader, Cllr Steve Thomas, who is expected to be officially installed as Blaenau Gwent council leader later this month, said:
“Carl is a renowned community worker in Ebbw Vale and has been for many years.
“He has a proven record of achieving for the people.
“The Labour Group are delighted to welcome him.”
While many have been supportive of Cllr Bainton’s announcement, others feel that he should resign, and a by-election held in the ward.
Darren Mott said:
“Doesn’t matter which party you represent mate I know you’ll do a great job and represent your community with 100 per cent commitment.”
But others were less positive.
Antony Partridge said:
“The only honourable thing to do is resign, which would trigger a by-election, and stand under the Labour banner like you should have from the start.
“Many people voted for you because you weren’t Labour.
“This completely throws their vote in their face after just two days on the job.”
At the election results last Friday, Cllr Bainton topped the poll in the Ebbw Vale South ward after 385 votes, Labour’s Sue Edmunds was also elected with 354 votes.