THE leader of Flintshire Council has been re-elected – despite more than a third of councillors backing a bid to have him ousted.

Cllr Arnold Woolley, who has been in charge at County Hall since May 2008, will continue to lead the authority over the next year after 33 of Flintshire’s 70 councillors backed a nomination for his re-election.

But the county’s Labour opposition group voted against Cllr Woolley staying in control at a crunch meeting yesterday.

Group leader Aaron Shotton said Labour would refuse to back Cllr Woolley because of the content of his mid-term report to the Independent, Liberal Democrat and Conservative coalition which he leads.

Cllr Shotton said the report sought to damage relations between the Labour group and the coalition.

He added: “Over the last two years there has been a collaborative approach from Labour on many issues and we have not been oppositional for opposition’s sake.

“However, it is with regret that I have to say our support of the coalition has been considerably affected by the publication of this report.

“If Cllr Woolley is elected leader today then I hope he will change his approach.”

Cllr Tony Sharps, Flintshire’s deputy leader, said Cllr Shotton had put forward his party’s views in a very respectful way.

He added: “I can assure him that something like this will not happen again.”

Members of the Labour group present at the meeting voted against Cllr Woolley returning as leader, along with coalition members Alison Halford and Carolyn Cattermoul.

Five councillors, including Independent group leader Patrick Heesom, abstained from the vote.

After being re-elected Cllr Woolley said: “I respect the honest comments of the Labour Party. There was no deliberate offence intended.”