A POLITICAL storm is brewing at Llandrindod’s county hall as leader Cllr Rosemarie Harris looks to keep the Independent/Conservative coalition afloat

On Wednesday, September 25, an extraordinary full council meeting will be held to discuss a vote of no confidence (VONC) in education portfolio holder, Cllr Myfanwy Alexander.

The motion was put forward by The Liberal Democrat-Green group and follows a scathing Estyn report which was published on September 10.

The motion was put forward by Liberal Democrat and Green group leader Cllr James Gibson-Watt (Glasbury) and Cllr Jackie Charlton (Llangattock) says: “That this council has no confidence in the current Portfolio Holder for Learning and Welsh Language to lead the education service to address and remedy the weakness identified in the July 2019 Estyn Report into Powys County Council.”

Behind the scenes councillors have been meeting to discuss the situation, which could see the Independent/Conservative administration torn asunder if no solution is found.

Sources at county hall have told the Local Democracy Service that one way around the problem would be to expand the number of portfolio holders from eight to 10.

This would give Cllr Harris the leeway to offer Cllr Alexander another portfolio and also keep the balance of the cabinet favouring the larger independent group.

The Local Democracy Service spoke to Cllr Harris about the issues.

Cllr Harris said: “I’m considering expanding the cabinet to 10.

“I have actually been considering it for the last year as some of them don’t fit together.

“They also don’t work correctly with all the directorates so each cabinet member is dealing with lots of different officers and it needs to be squared.

“There are other reasons, we have the growth deal (Mid Wales Growth Deal) coming on stream and will need to take more staff to deal with that.”

On Cllr Alexander, Cllr Harris said: “I won’t be removing her from the cabinet.”

A source told the Local Democracy Service: “Myfanwy has been asked to move by the whole cabinet but she’s being stubborn.”

The sources said that the cabinet would go up to 10 with Gwilym Williams (Conservative – Disserth and Trecoed) and Graham Breeze (Independent Welshpool Llanerchyddol) or Edwin Roderick (Independent -Maescar/Llywel)  brought in.

Cllrs Gwynfor Thomas (Conservative – Llansantffraid) and Amanda Jenner (Conservative – Trewern) are being considered for the education portfolio.

Cllr Alexander has been asked for a comment – but has not responded.