Cllr Clive Williams MBE (Conservative Plymouth Ward), the veteran Vale of Glamorgan and Penarth Town councillor who was controversially “de-selected” by the local Conservative Association in November – has announced he is to stand in next May’s council elections as an Independent .
Cllr Williams made his dramatic announcement in last night’s meeting of Penarth Town Council’s Leisure and Amenities Committee held at West House.
Its most unusual for a well-regarded incumbent councillor like Cllr Williams – who has been a councillor for 34 years, and who came joint top-of-the-poll in the 2012 council elections, to be prevented by his own party from standing for re-election…in this case, not least, because Cllr Williams is currently still President of the local Conservatives.
Cllr Williams claims that the people mainly responsible for his situation are fellow Conservative Penarth Town councillor Martin Turner and members of Cllr Turner’s family who either hold office in, or are voting members of, the local Conservative Association.
It was this local Association which organised the candidate “selection/de-selection” process in November. Cllr Williams says only a handful of other local Association members were present at the meeting and were empowered to vote. In the event 3 members of Turner family were selected as candidates – all to contend for salaried Vale of Glamorgan Council seats.
Despite his long and distinguished service – and his popularity amongst ward residents – Cllr Williams was not selected to stand for election in Plymouth Ward or in any other ward in Penarth . The selection panel instead chose Cllr Martin Turner’s daughter, Mrs Kathryn McCaffer, and Conservative Party official Ben Gray to contest the two available Plymouth Ward seats.
Last night Cllr Williams told Penarth Councillors “Everybody in this room knows what Cllr Martin Turner and the other three Turners did to me at my de-selection. I’ve been forced into an intolerable position and I can’t see a way back. I do not want these sordid dealings to be the end of my 34-year political career . I want to continue to serve the residents and friends of Plymouth Ward – so I look forward to standing as an Independent in May”.
Cllr Martin Turner was nominated to contest the St Augustine’s Ward on the Vale Council [he is currently a Penarth Town Councillor representing Plymouth Ward were he lives]. Cllr Turner’s wife, Mrs Dorothy Turner, was selected as the candidate for Vale of Glamorgan Council Cornerswell Ward seat – a seat she had held before, but lost to Cllr Rhiannon Birch (Labour) in 2012.
Asked by PDN about the conduct of the selection-process, a Conservative spokeswoman said afterwards : “The selection was carried out in a fair and open manner in accordance with the rules.” But Cllr Williams says the reaction he has received from local residents indicates that they think it was anything but “fair”.
Cllr Williams also says that, before the selection process began, he was told by Cllr Turner’s daughter Mrs Kathryn McCaffer [who was to be selected for Cllr Williams’s Plymouth Ward seat] – “Don’t worry, you have done so much for Penarth and you are well thought of ; you will always have your memories.”