LEADER of the Independent Political Group, and former council leader, Jamie Adams, has withdrawn from the leadership contest for Pembrokeshire County Council.
In an email to all county council members, he wrote: “Dear Members, I wish to inform you of my decision to withdraw from the process of election for the council leadership; I recognise that I have insufficient support to gain the position, however I am humbled by those of you who indicated your preference for my continued tenancy in the role.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my term as Leader, embracing the many challenges and I remain proud of the achievements we have gained in improving and evolving services to this great county. I assure you that I will continue my role with diligence until the AGM next week.”
Cllr Adams’ Independent Political Group has seen its majority slashed as the make-up of councillor groups was revealed.
Pembrokeshire County Council has updated its list of new and re-elected councillors and their political parties with only 13 members now in the IPG – a loss of 20 councillors overall.
The IPG includes longstanding members Cllrs Jamie Adams, John Davies, Huw George and David Pugh with just one new member joining the group, Hundleton’s Margot Bateman.
Cllr Bateman replaced IPPG stalwart John Allen-Mirehouse who stood down before the election.
As well as those knocked out in the election, such as Keith Lewis and Rob Lewis, the IPG appears to have lost Cllrs Simon Hancock, Michael John, Pearl Llewellyn and Paul Harries, current vice-chairman of the council.
This now means there are currently 21 councillors considered unaffiliated with any political party.
The vote for leader of the council was to be held on May 25 with unaffiliated Lampeter Velfrey councillor David Simpson standing against former leader Cllr Adams.
The way forward for Cllr Simpson now appears unopposed.
With 60 men and women making up the council a majority of 31 is needed to be elected leader.
First to back Cllr Simpson were the Labour group and its seven members, followed by Plaid Cymru with six members.
On Monday the Conservative group, with 12 members, also announced it would back the leadership bid against former leader Cllr Jamie Adams of the Independent Plus Group.
Cllr Bob Kilmister of the Liberal Democrats is backing Cllr Simpson and with a potential 11 unaffiliated members supporting him the chance to see a new person at the top is looking positive.
At least five of the unaffiliated councillors have said they are backing Cllr Simpson’s bid, including Cllrs Mike and Viv Stoddart, newly elected Cllr Paul Dowson, Cllr Jacob Williams and Cllr Tessa Hodgson.
These votes alone would give Cllr Simpson a majority of 31 and would allow him to create a new Cabinet.
Labour group leader Cllr Paul Miller, said: “I phoned Cllr Simpson to offer my congratulations; as far as I’m concerned it’s excellent news, it brings an end to the reign of the IPPG, which has been in power since 1996.
“I think for starters David Simpson has proved himself to be an honest straightforward bloke who can be trusted to run the council in an open and transparent fashion.
“David Simpson will be a breath of fresh air for the council, honest and trustworthy; I’m delighted we’ve finally seen the back of the IPPG.”
He suggested Cllr Adams’ withdrawal from the race was simple.
“I think it was very clear he didn’t have the numbers; I didn’t think it was going to be 31-29, I thought it was going to be 40-something. He’s got in touch with everyone and decided there wasn’t the support, it’s no more scientific than that, he decided he can’t win.”