THE person tasked with tossing the fateful coin which decided the outcome of the final ward in the Monmouthshire County Council elections has described the experience as "brutal".

Paul Matthews, chief executive of the council and presiding officer at the election on Friday, was put in the "unexpected" position of having to take matters into his own hands after two candidates received the exact same number of votes.

The final seat of the day, Llanfoist Fawr and Govilon, went down to the toss of a coin after Tomos Davies of the Conservatives and Bryony Nicholson of Labour both received exactly 679 votes.

Ms Nicholson guessed heads on the coin toss. It was tails.

Mr Matthews said that having to decide an election in this way is not without precedent, but it has never happened in Monmouthshire before.

"I really felt for both candidates who had worked so hard - it was a pretty brutal way to decide something that will have a significant impact on their lives," he said.

"For me, in the moment, I had to push the emotion to one side and recognise that a conclusion had to be reached.

"The most important thing was to involve the candidates/agents in the decision making process to ensure we had absolute clarity on what was going to happen.

"We achieved that."

Conservative candidate Mr Davies, who was not present at the election to witness the tossing of the coin, will now become councillor for the Llanfoist Fawr and Govilon ward.

The final results were:

  • Labour - 22
  • Conservative - 18
  • Independent - five
  • Green - one

This leaves the council, which has been controlled by a Conservative majority since the 2017 election, with no overall control.

A power-sharing deal will now need to be reached, but what form that will take is unclear.