Wales politics

Ex-Tory assembly leader Andrew RT Davies wins council seat

Andrew RT Davies
Image caption Andrew RT Davies said he had been fighting the school closure plan "from day one"

A former leader of the Conservative group in the Welsh Assembly has been elected to his local council to fight the closure of a village school.

Andrew RT Davies said he was "bitterly opposed" to plans by fellow Tories in the Vale of Glamorgan to shut Llancarfan Primary School.

He won a three-way contest for a by-election in the Rhoose seat.

Welsh Conservative leader Paul Davies said: "Andrew has always been passionate about his local community."

"The residents of Rhoose have gained a hard-working and committed councillor," he added.

Andrew RT Davies, who led the Tory assembly group for seven years, beat his Labour and independent rivals with more than 60% of the vote.

He thanked local residents for "placing their trust and confidence in me".

Mr Davies had said he did not intend to quit his assembly seat as a regional member for South Wales Central if elected to the council.

Image caption Parents fears the loss of the school's village ethos if pupils move to Rhoose

The seat fell vacant through the resignation of another Conservative councillor - Matthew Lloyd - who also opposed the council's plans to move Llancarfan pupils to a new school in Rhoose.

When he announced his candidacy, Mr Davies said he would support the Conservative administration on all other issues apart from the future of the school, saying rural schools were "the very fabric of rural life".

However, Labour said Mr Davies could not be "an honest broker" on the issue because his party is in charge of the local authority.

Speaking before Thursday's by-election, council leader John Thomas told the Local Democracy Reporting Service Mr Davies would be an asset to the Conservative group.

But he insisted that the decision on the school was in "the best interests of the children we're educating in Llancarfan and the Vale in general".

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