VOTERS across Taunton and West Somerset ditched the Conservative leadership in the May elections, but it looks like the Tories won’t be the opposition, either.

For what is believed to be the first time in the history of the area, a united Independent group will be the ones holding the administration to account on the new Somerset West and Taunton Council.

Fourteen Independent councillors were selected at the elections on May 2, some familiar faces, and some totally new to the political game.

The group has elected Gwil Wren as their leader, an experienced district councillor who represents Wiveliscombe in the new authority.

He said: “The Independent group is going to be the opposition because of the changes on the new council.

“There were 14 Independents and we will be working with the two Greens.

“They have very kindly elected me there spokesperson

“We are really looking forward to getting started

“At least half have never been councillors before, so it’s going to be a steep learning curve for them, but we will support them.

“The first task is to come together as a group.

“I contacted all of them and most of them were able to come to a meeting. We very quickly agreed it would be helpful so we are going to give it a go.

“It’s quite an interesting change.

“The great thing is we won’t have a whip so people will be able to vote how they feel is most appropriate for them are there constituents.

“But there will be other occasions when we will have a collective view.”

Mr Wren said the new group has a ‘good spread’ of councillors across the both the former districts, putting them in a good position to help all communities.

He added he feared the new Lib Dem authority may have a Taunton-centric regime, but the opposition would seek to ensure people from all the communities across the new district will be given a voice.