THE Labour group in Monmouthshire, now the largest party on the county council, has elected a new leader.

Mary Ann Brocklesby, a newly elected county councillor for the Llanelly ward, was selected to lead the group following the local election results last week.

Previous group leader, Dimitri Batrouni, stood down after moving away from Monmouthshire and was elected on Newport City Council for the Gaer ward.

The Labour group has 22 councillors elected on Monmouthshire council – two short of a majority – leaving the council with no overall control.

But there is confidence within the party of forming an alliance with the Independents and Green Party members to form an administration.

A spokeswoman for the Labour group said: “The previous leader of the Labour group moved away from Monmouthshire, and the same day the results were declared all 22 Labour councillors met and elected Mary Ann Brocklesby as their new leader.

“We are confident that at the council AGM next week Labour will form the first Labour administration in a generation and our best result since 1995.

“Mary Ann will then lead a Labour administration in Monmouthshire that works for the good of all residents.”

The spokeswoman said 55 per cent of the group is now made up of women and that it will “ensure equality is always on the agenda”.

A new council leader and cabinet members will be elected at a full council meeting next Thursday.

Former Conservative council leader Richard John has said the Labour group will be given “the time and space” to form an administration as the largest party on the council.