Veteran Penarth councillor Clive Williams (Conservative, Plymouth Ward) is to challenge the decision of his party not to allow him to stand again next May for his long-held seat on the Vale of Glamorgan Council .
Cllr Williams alleges some of the officials present voted to get their own relatives nominated as Tory candidates to stand for salaried seats on the Vale Council.
The local Conservative Party association held a “selection meeting” at the Conservative Club in Stanwell Road on November 22nd under the chairmanship of Tom Giffard – the party’s “Campaign Director” for South Wales.
All potential candidates who wished to stand for election to the Vale Council to represent wards in Penarth next May, were invited to attend. [See report on http://tinyurl.com/jrkxvfn%5D
Each would-candidate was required to make a presentation and was then interviewed by a supposedly impartial “selection panel“. Each interviewee was then “scored” (from 1 to 7 ) on the basis of their performance.
It’s understood this is the first time such a system has been used to select candidates to contest seats in Penarth – and the first time that an incumbent candidate – who already holds a seat – has been made to “re-apply” for adoption to stand again in that seat in forthcoming council elections.
Cllr Williams has been a councillor for 34 years, is a former Mayor of Penarth, and has been awarded an MBE for his long record of public service. He suffers from cancer and heart trouble – but at the age of 80, rarely misses a council meeting and is well-regarded by many local residents for his assiduous work in the ward.
Despite having held his Vale Plymouth Ward seat in 2012 with a landslide 936 votes, Cllr Williams has now been told by the Conservative Party that he has not been selected to stand again for election in the Plymouth Ward – or any other Vale ward in Penarth.
The Conservative Party panel then went on to select two other candidates to stand for the two “politically-safe” Vale Plymouth Ward seats.
They were Kathryn McCaffer, (who is the daughter of Penarth Town Councillor Martin Turner and his wife Dorothy Turner ) and Ben Gray who stood unsuccessfully against Vaughan Gething in the Welsh Assembly elections in the Cardiff South & Penarth constituency last May .
[PDN Note: The second selection for Plymouth Ward was made because the incumbent councillor holding the ‘second’ Vale seat in the ward is Cllr Maureen Kelly Owen – who has announced that she will be standing down at the May 2017 council elections and is not seeking re-election. ]
In a statement issued today, Cllr Williams claims that the Conservative Party Selection Panel comprised “the father, mother and brother” of one of his rival candidates – and “the mother (or stepmother)” of another of the rival candidates.
Cllr Williams’s full statement reads as follows :-
“It must now be public knowledge that I have not been selected to represent the official Conservative party at the next years election. (May 2017)
It will not be surprising to people that my wife and I are totally amazed at being treated and let down in this way after 34 years as successfully and efficiently serving the people of Stanwell and Plymouth Wards, being President of the Cardiff and Penarth Conservative association, for many years, and being awarded the MBE in 2005 for services to the community, and being endorsed by 936 votes in the 2012 elections.
I would like every one to know that my not being selected was in no way due to any wrong-doing on my part, but the small selection panel which comprised the mother, father and brother of one of the candidates standing, the mother or step mother of a second candidate standing, a lady, a candidate standing in another ward, plus one other.
Naturally in my view they wanted their relation elected in my place. The vote was 5 against, 2 for.
There were two senior officers from the Conservative Party present. I will leave it to the people of Penarth to come to their own conclusions on this matter.
“We” are all bewildered because to my knowledge nothing like this has ever happened in any ward before anywhere in the Vale of Glamorgan.
However this is not over.
Cllr A. Clive Williams MBE Plymouth Ward, Penarth. “
PDN has invited the Conservative Party to comment.