Ceredigion Council leader Cllr Ellen ap Gwynn has given her reasons for sacking local county councillor Gethin James who has announced he has become a member of Ukip.

Cllr ap Gwynn said she was "surprised" and "regretted" Cllr James' decision who is part of the council's Independent coalition partners.

“As Leader of the Council it is my responsibility to ensure that the Cabinet is pulling in the same direction for the good of the County. When the agreement was signed to run Ceredigion Council in 2012, it was between Plaid Cymru, two groups of independents and a councillor elected under Labour colours. It is a surprise and regret to me that one of the independent councillors has decided to switch political allegiances," she said.

“I would be very happy for the independent group concerned to nominate another member to the Council Cabinet.

“Ceredigion council is committed to making the most of opportunities offered by European Union funds to strengthen our economy. EU structural funds have already been crucial in building the coastal path which brings so much revenue to tourism businesses, to transport improvements in the county, and to investment in our universities.

“The agreed joint work programme of the coalition, signed by the groups represented in the cabinet, explicitly commits us to using EU funds to strengthen Ceredigion’s economy and society.

“I want this Council to be seen as outward looking, open for business and tourists and working hard to get the maximum possible out of Europe for businesses and farmers in Ceredigion.”