COUNCILLORS from all parties in Monmouthshire have unanimously backed a motion opposing Newport council's decision to withdraw from a Gwent-wide children's support service.

Newport council is proposing to create its own equivalent service after pulling out of the Sensory and Communication Support Service (SenCom).

The service supports children across Gwent with hearing, language and visual needs.

At a full Monmouthshire council meeting on Thursday, a motion by Labour's group leader, Dimitri Batrouni, was given cross party support.

The motion says: "This council strongly disagrees with Newport City Council’s decision to withdraw from the regional SenCom service and deeply regrets the level of uncertainty it has created around this essential support network."

Mum Ros Hannam, from Caldicot, whose four-month-old daughter Lola has severe hearing loss, urged councillors to support the motion at the meeting.

Ms Hannam said children in Newport would be most affected by the decision but that it will have a knock-on effect elsewhere.

She said: "I already know Lola's teacher of the deaf will not be Lola's teacher of the deaf from April next year."

"This is something that has to be fought," she added.

Cllr Batrouni said the service is vital for children in Monmouthshire and that it was important to show support.

"We must ensure this council, these councillors, stay firmly, unitedly right behind the staff and right behind the service."

Leader of the council, Cllr Peter Fox, praised Cllr Batrouni for showing 'courage' in standing against something he did not believe in despite party allegiances.

"I feel for the young people who are going to be affected in Newport because they are part of our shared service, they are our young people," he said.

"Newport can do as it wishes but when it affects Monmouthshire's young people through the breakdown of relationships that have been formed for many years, that's wrong and that's when we as a council have a role to play."

Labour councillor Martyn Groucutt said he felt 'shattered' when he heard of Newport council's plans to withdraw from the service.

Cllr Groucutt said he hoped "a very loud message" was being sent to his party colleagues in Newport, and that they were making a "seriously wrong decision."

And Independent councillor Frances Taylor said she also backed the motion.

Summing up, Cllr Batrouni said: "The message is clear, our passion is clear and our commitment is clear."

A recorded vote saw every councillor vote in support of the motion.

Chairman, Cllr Peter Clarke, said it was a 'rare' occasion and the vote was greeted with applause.

Newport council says the new service will provide the same level of support and will save money.

It says the decision should not destabilise the regional provision as it will remain appropriately sized and resourced.