A POWYS County Councillor has ditched the Welsh Conservatives to join the Abolish the Welsh Assembly party.

Llanyre Councillor Claire Mills has made the move after becoming frustrated at what she feels is a "tier of bureaucracy" that is leaving Powys short-changed when it comes to receiving local government settlements.

Speaking to the County Times, Cllr Mills said: "I've always believed the Welsh Government is a tier of bureaucracy that wasn't needed.

"I've been a county councillor now for three years and have seen how frontline services and local authorities need more support, against the lower settlement we've been receiving from the Welsh Government for decades."

Cllr Mills says her defection was not a snap decision but something she had been thinking about for a long time.

"I just felt I needed to stand up for what I believe in", she said.

"It's been a gradual process."

This month the Welsh Assembly changed its name to Senedd Cymru – Welsh Parliament – 21 years after devolution began to see law-making powers moved to Wales, following a referendum in 1997.

The next Senedd elections will take place next year, and Cllr Mills added that she would be happy to be considered to stand as a candidate for the Abolish the Welsh Assembly party, with the aim of seeing the Parliament abolished, but this will not distract from representing constituents in Llanyre on a day-today basis.

She said: "They (Llanyre residents) remain my priority and will carry on doing everything I can for them.

"I spoke to the group leader (of the Welsh Conservatives) this morning and he was disappointed. I don't know whether any others will follow it's not for me to say, and I am certainly not here to recruit anyone.

"I've made the decision because I believe in it."

Her move comes at a time when the Senedd is a sensitive issue. Over the weekend Shrewsbury and Atham MP Daniel Kawczynski - whose constituency neighbours Powys - called for its abolition amid differences in lockdown conditions between England and Wales, before Montgomeryshire MP Craig Williams sent him a letter advising him to respect the will of the Welsh people in supporting devolution.