ITV Election Debate 17th May

Christoph Fischer gives his view on the first Welsh Leaders debate.

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Mark Williams impressed people with his open and honest attitude in the debate, encouraging voters to give politicians a hard time and calling on other politicians to show humility and to work on putting things right. 

The Welsh Liberal Democrats party leader stood out for his compassion for Welsh Farmers and local small businesses, with plans for an entrepreneur's allowance, improvements for mobile and broadband coverage and seeking guarantees of continued funding for West Wales and the Valleys.

Williams also stood up for the rights of EU citizens and refugees, vowing to take in 50,000 vulnerable refugees and 3000 unaccompanied child refugees. “This is about Wales being a warm, tolerant and embracing country,” he said, pointing out how immigrants contribute to the economy, create jobs and enrich our society. This issue in particular earned him an overwhelmingly warm response on social media.

Williams confirmed the party's clear stand on Brexit and his determination to avoid the potential damage to Wales, while Leanne Wood admitted that Plaid have accepted Brexit and have moved on. “Democracy has started the process and democracy should end it,” Williams explained the party's insistence on a second referendum.

Williams also highlighted the party's commitment to the NHS and mental health care. While there was a distinct lack of specific plans by other party leaders and the feeling that the NHS is regarded as a burden, the Lib Dems plan would put a penny on income tax to ensure further funding for this essential service.

“We are better than May's cold and mean-spirited country,” a tweet echoed the sentiment.
Other notable responses to Mark Williams were: “Skilled immigrants keep the NHS running” and  “Stop treating immigrants as an economic problem, they contribute” and “Immigrants are an asset not a problem.”

As Williams put it: “No one party has the monopoly on the love for this country and the defence of its interests,” and social media agreed with him. 

Love for the country is also shown in his commitment to the Swansea Tidal Lagoon, a project that will bring many benefits, yet was vastly ignored by the rest of the party leaders.

The Tory's offering to Welsh voters is an end to the Severn Bridge tolls, a timely U-turn as twitter users pointed out “not so long ago the tories were suggesting toll both ways.”

Mark Williams offered the audience hope for a Wales that was strong, open, tolerant and united, giving everyone the opportunity to get ahead in life. If you want a strong opposition to stand up for Wales, vote Liberal Democrat on June 8th.

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