A Gwynedd Labour councillor has revealed plans to join the authority’s main opposition group, believing it will provide stronger opposition to the Plaid Cymru administration.

A full council meeting on Thursday is set to ratify Cllr Sion Jones’ new status as a member of the independent group, confirming his departure from the two member Lib/Lab group.

It means the Independents will become easily the second largest group on the council, holding 23 of the 75 seats – but still some way short of Plaid Cymru which has 41 elected members and a majority of seven.

Llais Gwynedd, meanwhile, has six councillors with the Gwynedd United Independents holding three seats.

Cllr Jones said his decision was not a result of any animosity with the sole Liberal Democrat, Cllr Steve Churchman.

The member for Bethel, who has stood for Labour in both Westminster and Welsh Assembly elections, said: “I will continue to be a Labour party member but intend to sit with the independents group to provide a stronger, more cohesive opposition to Plaid Cymru.

“There’s no problem whatsoever between myself and Steve, he understands my decision fully.

“This is simply a personal wish to ensure a stronger, more robust opposition to the current administration.”

Cllr Jones’ decision to leave means the forced disbandment of the Lib/Lab group as a recognised grouping must consist of at least two or more members.

The report that will be presented to Gwynedd’s full council meeting on Thursday, notes: “As a result of the above, the Liberal/Labour Group on Gwynedd Council no longer exists.

“Councillor Stephen Churchman remains a member of the Liberal Democrats.

“As more than one member is required to form a group, for the purpose of the political balance, the member will be treated as an individual member.”

Despite this, it is recommended that Cllr Churchman should retain the former Lib/Lab allocated seats on the Communities Scrutiny, Planning and Pensions Committees.

Cllr Churchman said: “It was Sion’s choice really, he felt he could achieve more as part of a larger group.

“It’s not really a viewpoint I would agree with, but it’s Sion’s decision and there’s no problem whatsoever.

“Personally I wouldn’t join an independent group as I’m a card carrying Liberal Democrat, therefore not an independent, but it’s all a personal choice at the end of the day.

“From my end there’s been no disagreement and I wish him well, I will continue to work with councillors from all groups and parties to secure the best for the people of Gwynedd.”