Wales politics

Ex-deputy leader Ralph Cook attacks Cardiff council and resigns

Ralph Cook
Image caption Ralph Cook had been a member of the party for 37 years

A former Labour deputy leader of Cardiff council has attacked the group, saying it does not understand how to run the city.

Ralph Cook has quit Labour after its Cardiff council group suspended him from serving on council committees.

He was suspended by the party as punishment for breaking the whip and opposing its transport plan last year.

A spokeswoman for the Labour group dismissed Mr Cook's comments.

It is the latest in a series of disagreements within the Cardiff Labour group.

In May, leader Phil Bale needed a second vote to be re-elected as leader after the initial poll was tied.

Earlier in the year, Mr Bale survived a full council motion of no confidence in his leadership after he had struggled to pass his budget.

Image caption Cardiff council leader Phil Bale faced a vote of no confidence earlier this year

Mr Cook told BBC Wales that "the group is not acting in a cohesive, collegiate way" and that "they don't discuss policy".

"The leadership doesn't understand how to co-ordinate the group or run the city," he went on.

"There are sufficient silent people in the group who let it happen."

Labour group spokeswoman Sue White said: "These are the personal views of a man who has been suspended from the group for an act of indiscipline. What more is there to say?"

Labour Cardiff councillor Ashley Govier told BBC Wales: "A lot of people are doing a lot of thinking.

"It's gone past the point of no return for many.

"We need help from outside the group."

Analysis - BBC Wales' politics reporter Paul Martin

Less than two months since about half the Labour group tried to remove Cardiff council leader Phil Bale, there is more discontent.

Ralph Cook's decision to leave the group is not significant in itself - Labour has a comfortable majority on the council and personal disagreements are nothing new within Cardiff Labour.

But Mr Cook had been a member of the party for 37 years, and the situation will become more serious if others follow him out.

None are publicly saying they will do that at the moment, but Welsh Labour HQ may be asked to step in in some sort of mediating role if the situation at its biggest council deteriorates.

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