The local elections in the Vale on Thursday, May 4, provided a night and early morning full of surprises – and led to a return to power for the Conservatives, as long as they could find another councillor prepared to form an administration with them.
By the end of the count, they were one tantalising councillor short of full control after taking 23 of the 47 available Vale seats.
For the last five years Labour had ruled, supported by Llantwit First Independents.
Now Labour hold just 14 seats, although Llantwit First Independents increased their number of councillors from three to four.
A key moment in the count was when Barry’s Dyfan Ward was announced. Previously held by Labour, two Conservatives were the victors, Vincent Bailey and Leighton Rowlands. It heralded a Conservative push across Barry and other areas of the Vale.
Dinas Powys, once known as ‘The People’s Republic of Plaid’, fell to the Conservatives. All three Plaid Cymru councillors, and the Dinas independent councillor fell to the blue surge.
Illtyd Ward in Barry, Labour for the last five years, returned Janice Charles, Tony Hampton and Marguerita Wright, all Conservatives.
In Rhoose, Adam Riley, an independent councillor who had been a key member of the Save Rhoose Library campaign, and was only elected last June, was beaten by Conservatives Gordon Kemp and Matthew Lloyd.
Despite a poor night for the Labour Party, former Vale Council Leader Neil Moore (Cadoc Ward, Barry) and former Deputy Leader Lis Burnett (Stanwell Ward, Penarth) were both returned.
As the Conservatives’ momentum became apparent, there was speculation in the other parties that Theresa May’s decision to go to the country in the general election, buoyant in the polls and requesting support before Brexit negotiations get under way, had fed into the local elections.
The sea change in the Vale Council is this: in 2012, the make-up of the council was Labour 22, Conservatives, 11, independents 7, Plaid Cymru 6 and UKIP 1; today it stands at Conservatives 23, Labour 14, Llantwit First Independents 4, Plaid Cymru 4, independents 2.
Over last weekend and early this week, the Conservatives were pondering who they could approach to form a new administration. There appeared to be three possibilities: the two independent councillors in Sully, Bob Penrose and Kevin Mahoney; Llantwit First Independents; and Plaid Cymru. The Sully councillors would appear to be the frontrunners.
So, who is your councillor? The Vale of Glamorgan Council election winners on May 4, 2017 (turnout 47.5 per cent) were:
Baruc Ward: Nic Hodges, Steffan Wiliam, both Plaid Cymru.
Buttrills: Owen Griffiths, Welsh Labour Party; Ian Johnson, Plaid Cymru.
Cadoc: Anne Moore, Neil Moore, both Welsh Labour Party; Rachel Nugent-Finn, Welsh Conservative Party.
Castleland: Millie Collins, Plaid Cymru; Pamela Drake, Welsh Labour Party.
Cornerswell: Rhiannon Mary Birch and Peter Graham King, both Welsh Labour Party.
Court: Bronwen Ellen Brooks and Sandra Davies Perkes, both Welsh Labour Party.
Cowbridge: Geoffrey Cox, Thomas Hunter Jarvie and Andrew Carey Parker, all Welsh Conservative Party.
Dinas Powys: Robert Crowley, Vince Driscoll, Steve Griffiths, Andy Robertson, all Welsh Conservative Party.
Dyfan: Vincent James Bailey and Leighton Owen Rowlands, both Welsh Conservative Party.
Gibbonsdown: Julie Aviet and Margaret Wilkinson, both Welsh Labour Party.
Illtyd: Janice Charles, Tony Hampton and Marguerita Wright, all Welsh Conservative Party.
Llandough: George Dennis David Carroll, Welsh Conservative Party.
Llandow and Ewenny: Christine Ann Cave, Welsh Conservative Party.
Llantwit Major: Sally Margaret Hanks, Gwyn John, Jayne Margaret Norman, Eddie Williams, all Llantwit First Independents.
Peterston-Super-Ely: Michael John Griffith Morgan, Welsh Conservative Party.
Plymouth: Ben Gray, Kathryn Frances Mcaffer, both Welsh Conservative Party.
Rhoose: Gordon Kemp and Matthew Lloyd, both Welsh Conservative Party.
St Athan: John William Thomas, Welsh Conservative Party.
St Augustines: Ruba Sivagnanam and Neil Christopher Thomas, both Welsh Labour Party.
St Brides Major: Stewart Thomas Andrews, Welsh Conservative Party.
Stanwell: Lis Burnett and Mark Robert Wilson, both Welsh Labour Party.
Sully: Kevin Phillip Mahoney and Bob Penrose, both independent.
Wenvoe: Jonathan Charles Bird, Welsh Conservative Party.