South East Wales

Blaenau Gwent leader Hedley McCarthy quits over cuts

hedley mccarthy

The leader of a south Wales council has quit after enduring what he calls "horrific" Tory government cuts.

Hedley McCarthy has been leader of Blaenau Gwent council since May 2012 and leader of the Labour group for eight years.

He said the council is having to make more "stringent reductions" than they did under ex-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s.

Mr McCarthy will continue to serve as a ward councillor for Llanhilleth.

"To have to make cuts on the scale that we're having to do in local government is horrendous - horrific," he said.

"This has been the most difficult and challenging time in the history of local government - worse than the Thatcher years - and I am weary of the cuts imposed by the Conservative government," he said.

"I do not believe I am necessarily the right person to lead Blaenau Gwent into the Welsh assembly election next May, given that I have serious concerns about the way the so-called local government reorganisation has been handled, or for that matter even share the definition of the word local."

Mr McCarthy will be replaced by his deputy, Stephen Thomas, from Wednesday.

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