THE leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Conservatives says he will still put forward plans to lead the authority despite eight councillors walking away from his group.

Eight councillors – including council leader John Thomas and all the authority’s cabinet members – have walked away from the Conservative administration and formed an independent group.

The exodus comes after Cllr Vincent Bailey defeated Cllr Thomas in a Conservative leadership vote held by councillors.

The defections leave the Conservatives with just 15 councillors on the authority remaining, while Labour has 14.

Cllr Ben Gray, who will lead the independent group, has neither confirmed nor denied rumours of the group potentially propping up a Labour-led administration at the council’s AGM on May 20.

Cllr Bailey said: “It is disappointing that these councillors have chosen to leave the party rather than accept the result of our internal election. I had hoped to work constructively with them and take their concerns on board.

“Those who were elected as Conservatives but have chosen to betray the faith that was shown in them by their constituents should have the courage to resign and face by-elections. They should defend their decisions at the ballot box.

“An establishment stitch up between these councillors and Labour is not in the interest of residents of the Vale of Glamorgan. They have explicitly argued that they know best and that the public should be ignored.

“I will be proposing a minority Conservative administration at the Vale Council’s AGM with a plan that delivers on the priorities of local people. I will challenge other councillors to back it.”