A TORFAEN councillor has announced that she will be leaving Plaid Cymru to join Welsh Labour.

Coed Eva ward member cllr Fiona Cross was one of two Plaid Cymru councillors standing in the borough, alongside Fairwater’s Jeff Rees.

Mrs Cross said her decision to leave the party was ‘not taken lightly’ and was made with the best interests of Coed Eva and its residents.

“I've worked hard as a Plaid Cymru councillor and I've been proud to do so, but I feel I will be able to achieve more as part of the Torfaen Labour team,” she said.

“I still want to achieve the same things for the people I represent in Coed Eva – but I feel Labour in Torfaen are best placed to deliver for them.”

Despite now standing as a Labour member, the councillor, who was first elected in 2008, is keen to make her ward residents aware that her change of party will not influence her day-to-day role within Coed Eva.

“I won't change. I still stand for everything I've always stood for: strong community links, better recycling, a more active nation and one that encourages the use of the Welsh language along with many more ideals,” she said.

“I'm ambitious for Coed Eva and Torfaen as a whole. I hope those who have supported me will see fit to continue to support me a Welsh Labour councillor based on my track record as an active and passionate community leader.”

Mrs Cross cited the work that has helped Coed Eva Primary School, which was partially destroyed by a fire on New Year’s Day, as a key factor behind her decision.

“I’ve been impressed by the way the council has acted on a number of issues, including working with us at Coed Eva School to help get the school back up and running after the awful fire there on New Year’s Day,” she added.

“I’d emphasise that this is not a negative decision – I wish my Plaid colleague well and hope we can still work positively together, as I have regardless of party with several different councillors over the past eight years.”

A Plaid Cymru spokeswoman said: "We’re disappointed that a long-standing and committed councillor of Fiona’s calibre has decided to leave Plaid Cymru and wish her well for the future.”