CALLS have been made for a ‘period of calm’ following the departure of Flintshire Council leader Aaron Shotton.

The Labour politician has announced his decision to step down from his role, citing the ‘intolerable’ pressure he has faced in the wake of sacking his deputy Bernie Attridge last week.

The move triggered two public protests in support of Cllr Attridge, the most recent of which took place outside a meeting of Connah’s Quay Town Council on Wednesday night.

Both of the former allies were absent from the monthly gathering after highlighting the toll the events of the last seven days have taken on them and their families.

Cllr Attridge, who has kept his role as deputy leader of the Labour group, has now issued a statement calling for an end to the protests.

He said: “I would like to thank my family, friends, and residents who have been very supportive of me over this last week and I am humbled by the support given to me.

“I would be very grateful if no more protest events take place as I want to use up all the energy I have left representing the people who put me in the job.”

The two councillors became embroiled in a war of words as their relationship deteriorated with each offering conflicting reasons for Cllr Attridge’s dismissal.

It led to calls for an end to the split in the Labour Party from one of their cabinet colleagues.

Cllr Shotton, who is the subject of an ongoing Ombudsman’s investigation into his conduct, said he would be leaving in light of “increasing and persistent” social media attention.

The chief executive of Flintshire Council has also discussed the impact the fall out has had on frontline staff at the local authority.

Posting on Twitter, Colin Everett said the workforce had been exposed to the impacts of a political division “through no fault of their own”.

His comments came following the intervention of Labour MP for Alyn and Deeside Mark Tami, who reiterated calls for a peaceful resolution to the dispute.

Mr Tami said: “I’m saddened by this news because Aaron was an excellent leader of the council.

“His ability to successfully run the council, despite year-on-year cuts, cannot be disputed.

“Obviously things had turned sour recently and he has decided this is the best outcome for his and his family’s health – which should always be his priority.

“I would now ask for a period of calm so Flintshire can find a resolution.”

Delyn Labour MP David Hanson has also paid tribute to the contribution both men have made to the council.

Meanwhile, the leader of the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA), which Cllr Shotton was a prominent member of, has issued a statement expressing her ‘disappointment’ at the impact recent events have had.

Newport Council leader Debbie Wilcox (Lab) said: “I should like to pay tribute and thank Aaron for his valuable contribution to the WLGA during recent years.

“Aaron has been a committed and tireless servant for his community, for Flintshire, for North Wales and for local government nationally and his guidance and support within the WLGA will be missed.

“It is particularly disappointing that an elected representative has decided to stand down due to the challenges of being a senior public figure at this time and the impact that it has on them and their families.

“I am confident, however, that the council will be providing Aaron and any others affected with the necessary guidance and support.”

“We would hope that Flintshire County Council is able to unify to continue to be a well governed and high performing council and to serve its local communities.”

A special meeting of Flintshire Council has been called next week to appoint Cllr Shotton’s successor.

The single item of business at Tuesday’s meeting will be the election of a leader to serve until the council’s AGM on May 7 when a permanent figurehead will be elected for the full year. (DEL APRIL 9,2019)