A councillor has resigned from the Liberal Democrat group on Cardiff council – just eight months after the local elections.
Councillor Gareth Holden, who has represented the Gabalfa ward since May, informed his former Lib Dem colleagues of his defection on Sunday.
Coun Holden said he had been “disillusioned” with the Liberal Democrats nationally for some time, but this had been compounded since his election by witnessing the behaviour of the Liberal Democrat group, as well as the other parties, in the council chamber.
He said the way some councillors conducted themselves was “atrocious” and he wanted to be free of the party political “machine”.
But he refused calls by some Labour councillors on Twitter to resign his seat and stand as an Independent candidate in a by-election.
“Many of the people I spoke to on the doorstep said that they voted for me and not the party. I feel confident in carrying on as an Independent as the people in my ward voted for me and not the party,” Coun Holden said.
Councillor Judith Woodman, leader of the Liberal Democrat group in Cardiff, said she was “shocked” when contacted by Coun Holden on Saturday.
Coun Woodman said his decision, which means there are now 15 Liberal Democrat councillors left in Cardiff, was based on national issues.
“The fact is he got elected as a Liberal Democrat and he has decided to throw in the towel for the Liberal Democrats within a year,” she said.
“I don’t know what his residents will think of that… they must be very disappointed as well.”
Coun Woodman added: “He says he has no issues with us locally, the issue is with us being in Coalition in Westminster. It has taken us by surprise, very much so.”
Coun Holden’s former ward colleague, Coun Ed Bridges, said the announcement would not impact on the pair’s ability to work together in Gabalfa.
“I do not agree with his reasons, but I understand his feelings,” Coun Bridges said.
“We will continue to work together and we are determined that it will not affect how we represent the people of the ward.
“There is still a great deal of mutual respect, we are good friends and remain so. The people of Gabalfa will not notice any difference, we will still work together as a team.”
Coun Woodman would not be drawn on whether Coun Holden should force a by-election, while Coun Bridges said he did not believe it was necessary.