Last week, my team of Conservative county councillors had our group AGM, at which I was re-elected Leader of the Conservatives in Monmouthshire.  It’s always really humbling to receive the support and backing of your colleagues. 

I’m fortunate to have such a great team around me, individuals who’ve come into politics because of a passion for their local community.  They come from a wide variety of backgrounds, including small business owners, a nurse, a teacher, a former chief executive, a driving examiner and a vicar.  The breadth of experiences amongst our team is a real strength and means we’re better equipped to help the residents we’ve been elected to serve. 

While our Conservative team is the official opposition on the council and we are charged with holding members of the administration to account, we always strive to do so in a way that is robust, but fair and not based on party politics.  We don’t oppose for its own sake and we always try to bring forward positive ideas and suggestions to the fore.  We’re the group that consistently brings forward motions and questions to council meetings.  In the past two years we’ve brought forward motions about issues such as ensuring dignity for men with prostate cancer, standing up for Monmouthshire farmers, improving water quality, opposing cuts to minor injuries provision and most recently, trying to reinstate the milk contract for Raglan Dairy. 

At every meeting we ask questions of the various cabinet members about issues that impact our residents, but it’s a shame that many councillors don’t bother.  All councillors are able to ask questions at a monthly full council, but bizarrely, not a single Labour councillor has asked a question in almost two and a half years. 

At next week’s meeting I’m asking another question about the Council’s discredited milk tender, because we’ve uncovered evidence showing the council was wrong to award the contract to Totally Welsh when it didn’t meet the essential criteria of the tender.  While colleagues are asking questions about supporting businesses in Monmouth while the roadworks continue, about investment in schools and the state of roads in the county. 

Over the next year, we’ll continue to do our best for residents in our individual wards, as a team and working with David TC Davies in Parliament and Peter Fox and his colleagues in the Senedd.  We will continue to champion the issues that matter most to our residents and do all we can to ensure their voices are heard.