The Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council, Councillor Jamie Adams, has announced that the Chief Executive, Bryn Parry-Jones, is to take a period of absence with immediate effect.

Councillor Adams said: “This decision has been taken in view of the continuing speculation surrounding the Chief Executive’s position.

“It has been reached by mutual agreement between Mr Parry-Jones and myself and I believe is in the best interests of the Authority at the present time.

“There will be no further statements on this matter.”

As Mr Parry-Jones has not been suspended, the Western Telegraph understands that he will still be paid during his period of absence.

Mr Parry-Jones has been under severe pressure for several months due to a series of scandals - including controversy over 'unlawful' pension payments he received, the role he played in the disciplinary procedures of a council officer who later turned out to be a sex offender and a host of education and safeguarding failures.

A new police investigation by Gloucestershire Constabulary into the pension payment controversy is also underway. A previous police investigation found no wrongdoing.

Last week, members of staff at County Hall joined a protest outside the offices against 'the catalogue of failures' under Mr Parry-Jones' leadership.

Cllr Adams has steadfastly supported Mr Parry-Jones throughout and is likely to come under further pressure himself, as a result.

Cllr Adams is leader of the ruling Independent Plus Group on the council.

Leader faces crucial group meeting

The Western Telegraph understands that a meeting of the ruling Independent Plus Group is due to be held - potentially as early as Monday evening - which could be make or break for council leader Cllr Jamie Adams, who has unreservedly backed Bryn Parry-Jones throughout.

Cabinet member Cllr David Simpson has been touted as a potential replacement group leader but he firmly denied that he would stand against Cllr Adams when contacted by the Western Telegraph today (Friday).

He did say, however, that were Cllr Adams to step down he would seriously consider taking on the position.

“I would not oppose Jamie in his role, I would not stand against him but if he deemed to resign I would consider putting my name forward.

"I enjoy my role on cabinet, I have been working on housing for seven or eight years and I love and understand that role. The role of leader is a whole new ball game but if the circumstances were right I would welcome the challenge,” added Cllr Simpson.