Well known Conservative Penarth Town Councillor – and former Penarth Mayor – Cllr Anthony Ernest has announced that he will be standing election for the Vale of Glamorgan Council as an Independent candidate in the Plymouth Ward of Penarth.
Cllr Ernest – a former chairman of the Vale of Glamorgan Council – is the second Penarth Conservative councillor to announce he’s standing as an Independent in May.
On February 1st Cllr Clive Williams (the long-standing Vale of Glamorgan Conservative Councillor for Plymouth Ward) announced he is to stand for one of the two Plymouth Ward seats in May as an Independent .
The move follows the controversial – and sparsely attended “Selection Meeting” held by the Penarth Conservative Association held last November to select candidates to contest the 8 Penarth seats representing Penarth Wards on the Vale of Glamorgan Council.
At that meeting three members of the same family – the Turners – ( Cllr Martin Turner – the chairman of the Penarth Branch of the Conservative Association, his wife Dorothy Turner – chair of the Cardiff South and Penarth Association – and their daughter Mrs Kathryn McCaffer ) voted for each other and were selected as Vale candidates for the Penarth Plymouth Ward (Mrs McCaffer) St Augustine’s Ward (Martin Turner) and Cornerswell Ward (Mrs Dorothy Turner).
Cllr Ernest says “My decision to contest the seat has not been taken lightly, and is a direct result of the outcome of a Selection Meeting held by local Conservatives in November last year, at which my nomination was rejected by the small handful of activists present, four of whom were members of the same family, and thus, it must be assumed, had ulterior motives to pursue.”
Cllr Ernest says “Those motives were very simply to ensure the selection of three members of that same family to stand in three separate wards (areas) of Penarth, thus denying me, as a long-standing sitting Councillor in Plymouth Ward, of the opportunity to continue my committed work for the community.”
In his statement released today Cllr Ernest says “It is usually the case for a senior councillor to be re-nominated, especially in Penarth, and the questionable level of attendance at the meeting has shown that the experience and knowledge that I have given over many years to Penarth and the Vale, has failed to be appreciated, at least by the 7 party members who voted at that dysfunctional meeting.”
When questioned about the way in which the November Selection Meeting was conducted, Denise Howard, the Conservative Regional Press Officer issued a one-line statement, simply saying “A Conservative spokeswoman said “The selection was carried out in a fair and open manner in accordance with the rules.”
Today Cllr Ernest goes on to say “As someone who has lived in Penarth for the whole of my life, was born in Plymouth Ward, has been both a Vale and Town Councillor for several decades, and is active in many Penarth based organisations, I trust that those who know me will appreciate the range of County Council activities that I have been involved with. These include being Chairman (Mayor) of the Vale of Glamorgan Council, at which I met hundreds of local people and represented the Vale of Glamorgan at events in Germany, France and elsewhere, raising thousands of pounds for a number of local charities, having the honour of being Mayor of Penarth on two separate occasions, being Chairman of the South Wales Fire & Rescue Authority for 4 years, and, of course, dealing with a huge range of enquiries from constituents about issues such as Planning, Leisure and Sport, Housing, the Arts, Countryside and Environment and much more.”
He says “I cannot allow my considerable service as a Vale Councillor to be closed by petty politics, and for that reason alone I have made the decision to stand as an Independent Candidate in this year’s election. I can promise Penarth residents, whatever their political views, that they will be well served if they lend me their support on May 4th.”