AS the dust settles after yesterday’s local elections, we take a look at how the injection of new blood could shake things up at Pembrokeshire County Council.

It was a great day for the Conservatives, who quadrupled their seats in County Hall from three to 12, in line with the national trend.

New recruits included former Western Telegraph reporter Sam Kurtz, and well-known campaigner and town councillor Dai Boswell.

Western Telegraph:

Labour is two seats up, with new members Vic Dennis in Narberth, Alison Tudor in Prendergast, and Joshua Beynon in Pembroke Dock Llanion.

But the group said goodbye to Gwilym Price of Goodwick, who was beaten to the seat by independent candidate Kevin Doolin.

Plaid Cymru held on to seats in Clydau, Milford Haven West, Tenby North and Penally, and gained ground in Carew and – most notably – Crymych, where Chris Tomos claimed the seat from deputy council leader Keith Lewis.

Bob Kilmister retained his Dinas Cross seat with a comfortable majority, and will be the only Welsh Lib Dem to return to the council chambers.

But all eyes will now be on the Independent Plus Political Group (IPPG), who – with 33 members out of a possible 60 councillors – held a clear majority in the previous administration.

Despite no-one officially standing under the IPPG flag (all previous members stated themselves as independent or failed to provide an affiliation), 18 former members have been re-elected.

At its head, former leader Jamie Adams retained his Camrose seat, with high-profile Cabinet member Huw George also safe for another term.

But the loss of prominent figures such as former deputy leaders Keith Lewis and Rob Lewis, and the repercussions caused by several members standing down, have hit the group hard.

Western Telegraph:

While still the biggest single entity, this reduction in numbers means the IPPG no longer reigns supreme, and would need to make alliances with other parties, or other independents, to maintain control.

Could the Tories and the IPPG end up in coalition? Or will Jamie Adams look elsewhere for support?

Throughout the campaign period, many prospective ‘independents’ were vocal that they would remain ‘truly independent’ if elected.

And the fact that so many new faces stood for election this time round demonstrates the strength of feeling against the previous administration, be that for its decisions on education, its links to former chief executive Bryn Parry Jones, or because of more hyper-local issues.

But we know from experience that the offer of a well-paid Cabinet position can result in well-meaning election promises being withdrawn down the line, so it will be interesting to see who sticks to their guns.

Mike Stoddart, Viv Stoddart and Tessa Hodgson can be trusted to uphold their family tradition of remaining non-partisan, while solo figures such as Jacob Williams are unlikely to have their heads turned, and Lib Dem Bob Kilmister has continually pledged to only work with those who share his values.

And with a general election just around the corner, Labour will not want to be seen to compromise, lest it damage the party image further.

Only time will tell what ‘special relationships’ develop, but voters must not think their job is done just because the results are now in.

Councillors have a duty to represent the people of Pembrokeshire, but it is vital that each and every one of us keeps a close eye on what is done in our name, if we are to continue to have our say.