A NEW political group has been formed in Blaenau Gwent, vowing to tackle the “poor leadership and vision of the current administration” but already cracks are beginning to show as uncertainty reigns over who is actually a member.

Former council leader Des Hillman, who was subjected to two Wales Audit Office investigations and two votes of no confidence, has rallied his supporters after he quit his top job and taken the helm of the Blaenau Gwent Real Independents.

But despite reports in other media that Abertillery councillor Nigel Daniels had joined, the independent has spoken exclusively to the Argus and said that he has not and will not join the new group and finds the fact that his name was put forward to the council on the official documentation setting up the group as “bizarre”.

Cllr Daniels said: “Yes, I was present at the first get together when the idea of a new group was put forward, but so were other people.

“As an independent it is my place to listen to all sides and not cut myself off from anything so I went along out of curiosity more than anything else.”

Official notification of the group was lodged with Blaenau Gwent council on Friday morning, hours before the council broke for Christmas.

Cllr Daniels had been informed his name was on the list of founder members of the group, including former education executive member Cllr Steve Bard, who resigned his post after a damning Estyn inspection and whose comments of the suicide rate of Bridgend forced the council to make a public apology distancing itself from the remarks.

Cllr Mark Edwards, Cllr Shirley Ford and Cllr Keith Barnes are also named as members.

Cllr Daniels rang the council and told them he had nothing to do with the party and asked for his name to be removed.

Despite Cllr Daniels being adamant he is not a member of the new group, a statement released last night by the Blaenau Gwent Real Independents still lists him as a member.

Call to ‘stop the rot’ at council

IN A STATEMENT released by the Real Blaenau Gwent Independents, the group calls for real independents to “stop the rot” at the council.

The group says it was formed to “provide a robust, positive and open opposition to the current Partnership Group and Labour executive, there is no challenge or opposition at present in the council due to the poor leadership and vision of the current administration.”

However, it’s the Labour Party who seem to be on the receiving end of the wrath of the new group.

“For decades Blaenau Gwent residents have been let down by consecutive Labour administrations and finally they get a council who are capable of delivering great change and a new age of opportunities, only to see the old Labour faces implanted into the council by the threats of the Labour led Welsh Assembly Government.

“Make no mistake there is only one agenda from the Labour-led Welsh Assembly Government and that is to return Blaenau Gwent to a Labour led council.”

It says: “Stop the rot, remember why you were elected.” It continues: “Independent members must act now to protect Blaenau Gwent and to protect the people who voted for them, remember, these are the people that made you, when you said you cared for them all, these are the people that will break you, don’t let Blaenau Gwent fall.”