FLINTSHIRE’S council coalition leader has been advised to ‘go gracefully’ today or be sacked.

County council leader Arnold Woolley was said to be considering his position last night after members of his group joined two Liberal Democrats to form a rival New Independents faction, led by former council leader Patrick Heesom.

It is understood papers were filed at County Hall in Mold last night announcing the creation of the nine-member New Independents group, created by seven members of the Independent Non-Alligned group and two former Lib Dems.

As of yesterday, Buckley member Cllr Woolley, 73, led a group of 25 Independent/Non Alligned members.

There were 22 opposition Labour members, 12 Liberal Democrats, nine Conservatives, one Plaid Cymru member and Saltney councillor Klaus Armstrong-Braun.

Now the new group has been created, there will only be 18 Independent/Non Alligned and 10 Lib Dems.

There will still be nine Tories, nine Independent Assembly group members, one Plaid member and Cllr Armstrong-Braun.

Labour, which controlled the council until the last four-yearly elections, will form the largest group of 22 councillors.

It is believed Cllr Woolley, who was only elected by a margin of two councillors at the last annual council meeting, will either resign or ask for a vote of confidence.

He was said to be at a meeting last night and unavailable for comment.

However, his deputy, Northop Hall councillor Tony Sharps, insisted it was business as usual on the county council.

Cllr Heesom, who stepped down as leader some time ago because he is being investigated by the Ombudsman and awaits a formal hearing in December, was also unavailable for comment. His friend, Ewloe Tory councillor Alison Halford, declined to comment.

However, it is believed the Conservative group would back Cllr Heesom in the council chamber.