In a shock announcement the Conservative Group on Penarth Town Council last night announced – before the full council – that it had voted the Deputy Leader of its group – Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward) – out of office.
The wholly unexpected announcement was made by Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward) who is leader of the Conservative Group on Penarth Town Council and also represents the Plymouth Ward on the Vale of Glamorgan Council.
Cllr Williams informed the council that “with a vote of 66%, Cllr Martin Turner was deselected as Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group on this Town Council. Cllr Anthony Ernest [ Conservative Plymouth Ward] was selected as the new deputy”.
There was a stunned silence in the council chamber as the impact of the announcement sank in.
Although a Conservative member, Cllr Martin Turner has worked closely with the majority Labour administration on Penarth Town Council and – notwithstanding his political affiliation – was installed by the Labour Group as Mayor of Penarth in 2014/15.
Cllr Turner’s wife, Dorothy Turner was a former Vale of Glamorgan Conservative councillor for the Cornerswell Ward of Penarth but she was heavily defeated in the 2012 elections and lost her seat. Mrs Turner also stood unsuccessfully for election to Penarth Town Council’s Stanwell Ward in 2008. She is to stand again for election in May.
Three members of the Turner family – Mrs Dorothy Turner, Cllr Martin Turner and their daughter Mrs Kathryn McCaffer – were all selected as Conservative candidates for the forthcoming May elections in the Vale of Glamorgan Council seats for the Cornerswell , St Augustines and the Plymouth Wards respectively.
Their nominations were made in a controversial “selection/de-selection” process held last month by the Penarth Conservative Association (of which Mrs Turner is chair) . It was in that “selection process” that veteran Vale and Penarth Town Conservative Councillor Clive Williams – who jointly topped the poll in the Plymouth Ward of Penarth in 2012 and has served as a councillor for 30 years – was controversially “de-selected” as a Conservative candidate for the May 2017 elections .
It is most unusual for a sitting incumbent councillor with a strong electoral support – like Cllr Williams – to be “de-selected” . but the Conservative party officials claimed that his “de-selection” was in compliance with its rules and that the process had been conducted in a “fair and open manner “.
Kathryn McCaffer stood for election to Penarth Town Council in the Stanwell Ward in 2012 but failed to be elected and came next to bottom of the poll.