AN INDEPENDENT Torfaen councillor has joined the Conservatives.

Greenmeadow ward member Cllr Jason O'Connell has announced he has joined the party following the election of Preseli Pembrokeshire AM Paul Davies as the new leader of the Conservatives in the Welsh Assembly earlier this week.

Cllr O'Connell said: "A refreshed and revitalised Torfaen Conservative Party, working alongside the exciting appointment of Paul Davies as newly appointed Welsh leader, has an opportunity to take Torfaen out of being 'kept in its place' by decades of Labour control and elevate its credentials as one of the best locations in UK for the jobs and investment that is so badly needed yet seldom delivered.

"I feel that the residents of Torfaen deserve better than being taken for granted, I feel that they need a party that will tirelessly work on their behalf and I feel that having the opportunity to play my part in the greatest political endeavour of my lifetime in Brexit and delivering on Torfaen’s desire to leave the EU effectively is something that would be a huge privilege to be a part of."

He added: "My priority is, and always will be the residents of the ward of Greenmeadow that I’m proud to represent and I’m pleased to be able to say that this decision will only aid in the continued delivery of my pre-election promises.

"I will continue to act faithfully on behalf of the residents and tirelessly in making the area a better place to live.

"I would like to thank residents for their support and I would also like to thank the Torfaen Independent group, from whom I’ve learned a tremendous amount and have huge respect for.

"As always, I’m completely accessible to any resident who wants to talk to me about this decision and I look forward to continuing to support the residents of Greenmeadow and wider Torfaen for the remainder of the term."

This takes the number of Conservative members on the council to five, and leaves 10 Independents. Labour are by far the largest group on the council, with 29 members.