War of words between Labour and Plaid ahead of Caerphilly council no confidence vote
A SCATHING war of words between Caerphilly county's two largest parties over the pay scandal broke out over the weekend after Labour claimed Plaid were trying to destroy the council.
Senior figures in the Labour group say Plaid's motion of no-confidence, due to be heard at full council tomorrow evening, is "malicious" and "a desperate distraction".
Plaid’s motion was tabled after a damning report from the Wales Audit Office in the wake of the senior officers’ pay scandal.
The withering criticism came after Plaid alleged the Labour leadership knew about the contents of reports over controversial pay rises from the council's chief executive Anthony O'Sullivan.
Plaid's Cllr Colin Mann, leader of the Caerphilly group, claimed that the leadership did nothing about it, allowing the report to go to a committee where controversial pay rises for 21 top officers were approved.
The Labour group admitted its leadership had been aware of the pay issue, but has pointed the finger back at Plaid.
Labour Cllr Keith Reynolds, deputy leader of the authority, said: "Instead of apologising for their involvement in the remuneration committee and mucking in to help, the Plaid leadership gleefully follow a 'scorched earth' policy of trying to destroy our council and its leadership for some misguided reasons of their own.
"This can only end up damaging services and hurting the people we represent."
Cllr Reynolds said he was sure the council will "roundly reject Colin Mann’s malicious motion".
He said: "Harry Andrews is the best Leader Caerphilly council's ever had. His integrity and passion for our county borough are an inspiration to the whole council."
Cllr Gerald Jones, deputy Leader of Caerphilly Council, said: "This confidence motion is a politically motivated distraction"
But Plaid's Cllr Mann said the political leadership at Caerphilly must accept responsibility for "the worst crisis since Caerphilly council was established".
"Cllr Andrews, and indeed his cabinet colleagues, were aware of the contents of the chief executive’s report and that of the Hay group before the senior remuneration panel met last September," he said.
Cllr Mann added: "How could any leader think— when many people are struggling to keep a roof over their head or put food on the table – that this was an appropriate time to approve rises of the level proposed?"
Cllr Mann said backbench Labour councillors "can help restore public confidence in this council" and "accept this episode was a disastrous failing by their leader".
He later added that the Labour party are trying to "point the finger in other places" rather than take the blame themselves – and said only one of his group had seen the report before the committee meeting at "very short notice".
A Labour group spokesman said: "The Labour group confirms that the Labour leadership was aware of the pay issue - but they have since apologised and have acted decisively to rescind the rises.
"Yet both the Plaid leader and deputy leader also knew about the pay issue in September. Why were they silent for the three months until it was reported in the press in December?"
Comments are closed on this article.