An MP has been left “deeply disappointed” after Caerphilly County Borough Council’s leader and interim chief executive “abruptly” left a meeting regarding issues in the borough.
Chris Evans, the Labour MP for Islwyn, hoped to put constituents’ views and questions to Cllr Dave Poole and Christina Harrhy at his constituency officer in Pontllanfraith on Friday (July 12).
It is claimed that the meeting was expected to last an hour, but Cllr Poole and Ms Harrhy were pictured leaving a short time after entering the building.
A council spokesman said the meeting involved a “short discussion” about ongoing issues relating to the authority and was “no different” to any other meeting between the senior leadership and local MPs.
But Mr Evans, speaking after the meeting, said: “I am deeply disappointed that because of their decision to leave after only 20 minutes, I am unable to update my constituents around the issues on the agenda.
“We were discussing issues around governance in Caerphilly Council when they abruptly brought the meeting to a premature close by leaving my office.”
Relations between Mr Evans and senior Labour councillors at the council have become strained since the Labour MP publicly opposed the cabinet’s proposed closure of Pontllanfraith Leisure Centre.
Cllr Poole wrote an open letter condemning Mr Evans’ stance on the matter, which included his participation in a protest march in November last year.
The closure, which has since been postponed following a successful legal challenge by campaigners, was one of several topics discussed by the two parties at a meeting in April.
Both sides gave differing accounts of the meeting, with Cllr Poole saying that he was “in no doubt” that Mr Evans left the meeting with a clearer understanding of the council’s position.
But Mr Evans said he left with “more questions than answers”, describing the meeting as “extremely difficult”.
The council’s cabinet is also the subject of an official complaint made to Welsh Labour by members of the Islwyn Constituency Labour Party.
Along with Cllr Poole’s letter and the ongoing senior officer pay scandal, the CLP has called for an investigation into the cabinet’s decision-making and “poor” communication skills.