SENIOR opposition councillors in Monmouthshire say more should be done to involve all political groups in the authority’s preparations for Brexit.

The council has established a working group made up of officers from services areas likely to be affected by the UK leaving the European Union.

Since December, the group has reported fortnightly to the council’s leader and cabinet member for finance, Councillors Peter Fox and Phil Murphy.

South Wales Argus: Monmouthshire council's leader Peter Fox (left) and cabinet member for finance, Phil MurphyMonmouthshire council's leader Peter Fox (left) and cabinet member for finance, Phil Murphy

But leaders of the council’s Labour, Liberal Democrats and Independent groups want the Conservative councillors to work – and share the working group’s findings – in a cross-party manner.

“I’m not happy, it just seems that they’re keeping it to themselves and don’t want to engage,” said Councillor Dimitri Batrouni, leader of the Labour group.

“Brexit is an issue which crosses party boundaries, and is splitting parties up, so it makes sense to get everyone on board, working on a cross party basis and talking about it in an adult way.”

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All councillors have had the chance to attend seminars on Brexit and will receive a report on the council’s Brexit preparations on Thursday.

The meeting comes after prime minister Theresa May met Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in a bid to break the Brexit deadlock.

South Wales Argus: Theresa May and Jeremy CorbynTheresa May and Jeremy Corbyn

Cross-party Brexit talks at local government level are not uncommon, with Caerphilly council’s Labour administration inviting Plaid Cymru and Independent group leaders onto its working group alongside officers.

READ MORE: Caerphilly council will 'feel the brunt' of no-deal Brexit implications

Leader of the Independents group, Councillor Debby Blakebrough, felt the Conservative council was “mimicking” their Westminster counterparts by not collaborating with opposition members.

“The effect of a potential no-deal Brexit on Monmouthshire would be huge and long lasting, and we need to pull together,” said Cllr Blakebrough.

“It’s hugely disappointing. I’m not part of a political group, and I’d expect party commitments to be put aside to focus on getting ready.”

Councillor Jo Watkins, leader of the Liberal Democrats group, agreed that a cross-party political working group should be established.

South Wales Argus: Monmouthshire County Council officesMonmouthshire County Council offices

“I have concerns that we haven’t been involved, but that being said we have had members’ seminars and paperwork,” said Cllr Watkins.

“I feel we’ve been informed, but we haven’t had any input.”

The council is working closely with the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) on Brexit preparations, with Cllr Fox sitting on a cross-party political group involving elected members from across Wales.

Councils have been given £1.2 million – or £45,000 per council – by Welsh Government to prepare for Brexit, with an extra £200,000 available through the WLGA.

A Monmouthshire council spokesman said: “Monmouthshire doesn’t have a political working group.

“We have a Brexit working group made up of officers from key service areas and officers are reporting to full council to engage all councillors.

“The group will report to all councillors on Thursday with an update regarding our preparedness for Brexit.”