Welsh Liberal Democrat MS Kirsty Williams has announced after careful consideration that she will stand down at next year’s Senedd election.
Kirsty has served as the member for Brecon and Radnorshire since 1999, served as Chair of the Health Committee in the first Assembly from 1999-2003, as leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats from 2008 until 2016 and has been the Welsh Government’s Education Minister since her appointment in 2016.
Commenting Kirsty said:
“After a great deal of thought and reflection, I have decided not to stand as a candidate at the next Senedd election.
“There is, of course, sadness in making this decision, but also with a sense of achievement and pride.
“I am looking forward to spending more time with my family and I remain committed to my role in Brecon and Radnorshire and look forward to continuing to campaign with my successor to ensure Brecon and Radnorshire returns a Welsh Liberal Democrat voice.”
Paula Yates, President of the Welsh Liberal Democrats said:
“Kirsty has been an exceptional constituency champion for Brecon and Radnorshire for the last 21 years. There isn’t a street or village where someone doesn’t know someone who’s been personally helped by Kirsty over the years.”
Former Welsh Lib Dem leader Mike German added:
“Kirsty has been my friend and political ally for 25 years. As well as being a tremendous champion for Wales and for liberalism.
“I know she will continue to inspire others in whatever she does next and her legacy in her constituency and across Wales will be felt for years to come."
The Welsh Liberal Democrats have welcomed the news that malicious calls to the ambulance service have fallen over the last three years but have warned that more must be done to reduce them further.
Over the last three years 1,823 hoax calls were received and answered by the Welsh Ambulance Service.
"Now more than ever Ceredigion needs its voice to be heard"
Eligible pupils are guaranteed free school meal provision for all school holidays up to and including Easter 2021, thanks to £11m confirmed today Liberal Democrat Education Minister Kirsty Williams.
Making the announcement ahead of the October half term through a video released on her Twitter channel, the Minister said she hoped the confirmation would provide ‘some reassurance in these times of uncertainty’. The Minister also confirmed that more than £700k had also been allocated to support colleges with the equivalent provision for eligible learners.
Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds has written to every Conservative MP to question their support for UK Farmers and the Trade Bill currently before the UK Parliament - which does not give Parliament any powers to scrutinise trade agreements, and Conservative opposition to the Agricultural Bill amendments which would have protected Food and Animal Welfare standards.
Read the full letter below:
Responding to Plaid Cymru's Independence Commission report which has been published today (Friday 25 September) Welsh Liberal Democrats have described the report as a mix of fanatical politics and pie in the sky economics.
Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds said:
“Politics isn’t working for Wales or the UK as well as it could right now, I understand why independence looks attractive, but it isn’t the answer.
“There are far too many uncertainties, too many unknowns and too many risks with independence. We don’t know nor are Plaid proposing solutions to questions such as: What currency we would use? Would we still have access to the BBC? What would happen in towns and villages that straddle the border? Or whether English students will still be able to study in our universities?”
Opinion polling constantly shows the vast majority of Welsh voters are firmly against independence and time and time again that voters' concerns involve bread and butter issues like health, education and the economy.
Figures from Cardiff University show that Wales has an annual deficit of £13.7 billion which is over twice the entire budget of the Welsh NHS. On day one of independence using the most up to date figures available Wales’ debt as a percentage of GDP would be 88%, a figure which will grow over time if current spenidng is maintained. This is a figure calculated before considering the share of the UK’s debt that even Plaid Cymru admit Wales would be expected to shoulder and any of the recent extraordinary spending as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Jane Dodds further said:
“Plaid Cymru needs to be honest with the public about these figures and come clean with either how much an independent Wales will be forced to borrow on the first day of independence or what public services might be dropped.”
“The current pandemic shows how much Wales benefits financially from being part of the UK, there is virtually no way that the current furlough scheme would have been financially possible for example.
“Wales absolutely can and should be doing better, but independence isn’t the only option and it certainly isn’t the right one.
A federal and equal United Kingdom
This weekend Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Jane Dodds will join colleagues from the rest of the UK at the party’s conference and call for a truly federal United Kingdom.
The process would start with a declaration of a federal United Kingdom. A citizens’ assembly would then help draw up a written constitution.
Under the motion The Senedd, the Scottish Parliament and Northern Ireland Assembly would have their powers protected and could not be over-ruled by the Westminster government.
The governments would be required to co-operate to tackle big issues that affect the whole UK such as child poverty or the climate emergency.
Jane Dodds added:
“The idea to reform the UK to a federal nation similar to Canada and Germany is a constructive middle way between a centralising Westminster government and a dash for independence from the nationalists.
“It replaces division with the co-operation which is needed to heal the existing divisions and to build a better future for everyone.”
- The Cardiff University Government Expenditure and Revenue Wales report from 2019 shows that Wales had a £13.7b net fiscal deficit in 2017-18 (see page 4 - £40.8 billion in expenditure less £27.1 billion in revenue). In January 2020, a report from the same academic team at Cardiff University put Wales’ fiscal deficit at £13.5b in 2018-19 or £4,300 per head, compared with the UK average of £620 (see page 6).
- The Welsh Government budget for 2017-18 was £15.5 billion, of which £6.4billion was spent directly on the NHS (extrapolated from the £7.4billion budget allocated to Health, Wellbeing and Sport)
Every opinion poll regarding Welsh Independence in a range of possible scenarios has resulted in the vast majority of respondents rejecting the possibility of independence.
- The full text of the Liberal Democrat Conference on federalism is available online here (pages 24-27) and it will be debated at 11:10 on Saturday 26 September 2020.
The Clwyd West Liberal Democrats have announced that David Wilkins has been selected to contest the Clwyd West constituency at the Senedd election next year.
Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Jane Dodds said:
“I’m incredibly excited to start working with Ed as our new leader, I know he will help communicate our positive liberal message at a time when it’s needed more than ever.
“Ed is a friend of Wales understands our nation, our traditions and crucially devolution and the importance of the Senedd elections next year. With more and more people joining our party we have a renewed sense of optimism for the future, something in stark contrast to Boris’ bungled handling of the Covid-19 pandemic”
The Welsh Liberal Democrats have announced that Tim Sly will contest the Wrexham constituency at the Senedd election next year.
We welcome the decision to grade this years' A-Levels based on the recommended grades from teachers.