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Caerphilly Council leader Harry Andrews to retire

Published in News at 16:14, Friday April 25th, 2014. Last updated at 16:17, Friday April 25th, 2014

By Gareth Hill

Council leader Harry Andrews

Council leader Harry Andrews

Caerphilly County Borough Council leader Harry Andrews is to stand down on May 8.

The Gilfach councillor is retiring to spend more time with his family.

Cllr Andrews, who was made an MBE in 2003, said: “In the face of the Tory-led Westminster Government’s cuts in councils’ funding, we have protected frontline services for the people of Caerphilly County Borough.

“For me, this has been all about putting our Labour values into practice – protecting, investing in and empowering our communities. I’m honoured to have led our Council for the last two years, and in our last Labour-led administration of 2004 to 2008.

“I wish my successor as leader well, and they can count on my full support in future.”

Caerphilly AM, Jeff Cuthbert, commended Cllr Andrew’s work as leader.

He said: “Harry’s commitment to public service is second to none. He’s been a great ambassador for Caerphilly Borough and I’m sure he will continue to serve his Gilfach constituents to the very best of his ability from the back benches.

“Harry has earned respect from all sides of the political spectrum and I wish him all the best for the future.”

Deputy Leader Keith Reynolds said: “This is a sad day for Caerphilly County Borough. Harry Andrews has been the outstanding public servant in Caerphilly since our Council was created in 1996.

“Harry’s strong leadership has seen our Council through good times and bad, and he leaves our authority in a stronger, better-managed position than it was when we took office in 2012, thanks to him.

“It’s been a privilege to call Harry a friend, and to have served with him in office.”

Cllr Andrews will continue as the councillor for Gilfach and will formally retire as Labour group leader on May 6 and as council leader on May 8.

Nominations for Labour group leader are open until Friday May 2 with a vote taking place on May 6 before full council elects a new leader on May 8.

Caerphilly Council Deputy Mayor, and member for Bargoed ward, Cllr David Carter, said: “I’ve known Harry Andrews for 50 years and worked with him in the Labour movement and community for 40.

“His dedication to serving the people of Gilfach, of the Rhymney valley and of Caerphilly County Borough is second-to-none.

“While it’s sad that Harry will no longer serve as Leader of our Council, I’m delighted that he’ll remain as member for Gilfach.”

Colin Mann, leader of the opposition Plaid Cymru group on Caerphilly Council, said: “I wish Harry and his family all the best for the future as he steps back from the frontline of local politics.

“Harry has been a stalwart for the Labour Party for decades and while we’ve had our disagreements, I’ve always found Harry to be very personable and approachable.

“I think everyone would recognise Harry has made a huge contribution to public life, both to his ward and to local government generally.”

Islwyn MP Chris Evans has also praised Cllr Andrews’ work.

He said: “Harry has had an outstanding tenure as Leader of Caerphilly County Borough Council and he will be greatly missed. His contribution to our community cannot be overestimated and his strong leadership and excellent reputation are testament to his hard work.

“I would like to pay tribute to Harry for all that he has achieved as Leader, and as an exceptional representative of the Labour Party.

“Although it is sad that Harry will no longer lead the council, I know that he will continue to fight for what matters to the people of Gilfach.”

Stuart Rosser, Interim Chief Executive of the council, added “It is with sadness and reluctance that I recognise Cllr Harry Andrews’ intentions –the passion he has for this county borough is truly humbling and he has been a pillar of strength for this council during both his tenures as leader.

“I wish Harry well, and look forward to continuing to work with him in his role as Gilfach ward member moving forward.”

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  • Lynda

    Such a nice man and fantastic Leader, will be a hard act to follow. He has so much respect in the Borough. Even though he hasn’t had the easiest tasks to deal with over recent months, but he has carried on and continued to lead the Council very well. Does Labour have a alternative?

    • Realist UK

      He shouldn’t be allowed to step down while the Wales Audit office are investigating malpractice & 3 of his senior executives are due to appear in Crown Court on corruption charges next month. All alleged offenses relate to when Mr Andrews was council leader so I’ll withhold the plaudits until there’s been a thorough investigation and satisfactory outcome to the regime he oversaw.

      • Jan7

        Here here!

  • Jeff Davies

    There is no doubt that Harry Andrews has looked after his Gilfach Constituents, as Jeff Cuthbert and others have already said, and more will say on this site.

    But, he and his Labour party have forgotten that Caerphilly Town and all points south of Llanbradach exist, so very little gratitude to Harry will be expressed there from residents and ratepayers.

    There is a trial in Bristol Crown court due to start in the next couple of weeks of allegedly corrupt officials working under the direct control of Councillor Harry Andrews, and, his two deputies Cllr Kieth Reynolds and Cllr Gerald Jones. Both these councillors formed part of the secret Committee which allowed the alleged corrupt officers to unlawfully get away with Hundreds of Thousands of Pounds of our money.

    Will the attendance of these three elected Councillors be required in Bristol to give evidence? in the forthcoming trial, consider the case in which they do form elements of the case against these officers, it would be very unfortunate for Caerphilly BC and its inhabitants if one turned out to be the successful, already ` groomed`, replacement for Harry Andrews.

    This council requires a new. fresh, honest and straighforward, leader to take us all into another realm of Labour control at the next election, Cllr Jones nor Cllr Reynolds will be able to do that.

  • Wayne David MP

    Harry Andrews is widely respected for the work he has done for his community of Gilfach and the County Borough. He has led the Council with honesty and integrity during a difficult period and the many positive things which have been achieved are due, in large part, to his dedication and hard work.

  • ARTHUR THE GREAT

    Harry Andrews has had the helm of the Caerphilly borough council for years, during which time many positive things have happened, a simple achievement, when, to create a popular ` political` persona you are spending other peoples money. But, that does not detract from his public service dedication over the years, for which he has been paid, and he is now able to settle for a handsome, Councillor, pension, which the ratepayers have paid into on his behalf.

    The fact is that having won a vote of NO CONFIDENCE against him some months ago, his fate was sealed at that time, a deal was done which would allow Harry to walk away from the leadership of the Council, and of the local Labour Group at his leisure before the next election by the council of its leader, next month.

    Had this not been agreed behind closed doors before the labour group decided to support him in the motion against him, he would have lost that vote of no confidence.

    All that said, we now need to see who follows Harry as leader of the council and who will be the guiding influences over what must be an improved governance of the public affairs in the Caerphilly borough Council, and, so that we are not seen as the laughing stock of all Local Authorities that person has to shake the tree and see what bad apples need to be discarded so that all those hard working dedicated staff are in future seen as just that, people who take their public duty to all residents throughout the borough seriously and with honesty and a renewed integrity.

  • Tax payer

    I’m sorry but what exactly has HE done for at least 10 years?

  • ARTHUR THE GREAT

    Tax Payer- Perhaps that will become a little clearer during the trial, in Bristol, of
    his Three Senior lieutenants later this year, in fact, that rial may shed
    light on many issues which the ratepayers are not clear about in
    relation to the way Caerphilly Borough council has been operating for
    many years.