PLAID Cymru leader Michael Williams has said his party will back David Simpson as leader of Pembrokeshire County Council.

Cllr Williams' party, which has six councillors to its name, has pledged its support for the unaffiliated Lampeter Velfrey councillor.

Tenby North member Cllr Williams, who in 2014 called on then leader Jamie Adams to step down, said: "We strongly believe that a radical change of direction is required and that Cllr Simpson is the person most capable of delivering that change.

"For far to long the system has been decided on patronage and appointments have rarely been made on merit.

"There is little doubt that the council tax payers of Pembrokeshire have voted for change.

"It is up to members now to deliver that change.

"In backing David Simpson we do not seek any preferable treatment as a group, apart from the assurance that cabinet posts are filled on merit by those best qualified who have the most suitable experience, and are willing to commit fully to the restoration of public trust and openness in the county."

He also said he hoped the Conservative group would also make a similar commitment to "change the working authority".

This week, Cllr Simpson announced his ambition of becoming the council's new leader.

He has already won the backing of the Labour group, which has seven members. 

Cllr Simpson is a former Cabinet member, who left the ruling Independent Plus Political Group (IPPG) after losing confidence in the way cabinet was being run by Cllr Jamie Adams, the leader at the time.

He told the Western Telegraph that the recent election results sent a clear message that the old way of doing things in county hall was not acceptable.

"It is not my intention to buy support for my leadership challenge by promising Cabinet seats and other paid positions in exchange for votes" he said.

"That flawed system has just been rejected by the Pembrokeshire electorate and I am asking members to support me only if they think I am the best person for the job."

He has promised a more open administration involving all 60 members, with party differences set aside in the interests of providing better services and value for money.

"Under my leadership, Cabinet members will be appointed on merit - ability, not loyalty, will be the only consideration." he said.

Labour group leader Cllr Paul Miller, said: "The last 5 years have been extremely difficult for Pembrokeshire Council, with the authority lurching from one scandal to the next. 

"In last week's election the voting public of Pembrokeshire placed the blame fairly and squarely with the ruling Independent Political Plus Group and in my view made clear that they wanted to see real change.

"Cllr Jamie Adams' time as leader of the authority simply must come to an end and both the Labour Group and I are committed to bringing about the change of leadership the voting public want to see."

There is still the possibility of other members being put forward as potential leader as a number of deals are understood to be being discussed this week.