Tag Archives: kirsty williams

Conference Countdown 2016: Looking forward to Lib Dem Disco?

For those of you heading to Conference in Brighton this weekend, I hope word has reached you by now that Cambridge Lib Dems are once again hosting the hugely enjoyable Lib Dem Disco in association with UK Music.

It was such fun last year that even Buzzfeed was astounded.

This year will see defending champion DJ Jo Swinson taking on the challenge from Kirsty Williams, Simon Hughes and the ALDC’s own Abi Bell. As before, your MC for the evening is one Julian “J Huppz” Huppert.

Things kick off at 10:30pm in the Balmoral & Buckingham Room, Hilton Metropole, Brighton on Saturday 17th September.

Please note that in previous years a special online discount was offered. This year tickets are all £10 each. We would like to apologise if this was incorrectly stated elsewhere. Naturally you can trust this now that you’ve read it on Lib Dem Voice!

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , and | Leave a comment

In Full: Kirsty Williams’ challenge to Welsh universities over Brexit

This week, Kirsty Williams, the Liberal Democrat Welsh Education Secretary, made a speech at Cardiff University about the challenges facing the sector caused by Brexit. She called on universities to strengthen their links to the community at this very difficult time. Here is her speech in full.

Prynhawn da pawb. Good afternoon everyone.

Thank you Colin, and many thanks to colleagues here at Cardiff University for hosting this event today.

It’s great to be here in the Postgraduate Teaching Centre, where professionals from industry and masters students mix and study in the same great location. It is a real state-of –the art facility, one which reflects ambitions to engage strongly with the local and global economy.

One of Cardiff University’s main purposes is to “contribute to the social, cultural and economic development of Wales”. It says so in the university charter (so it must be true…!)

Such civic ambition, in common with our other universities, was the product of a national, political and educational awakening.

As the Aberdare Committee of 1881 noted, there was a “widespread desire for a better education system in Wales” in the second half of the 19th century. The establishment of our own university colleges was central to the fulfilment of that desire.

I know that ambitions for an even better education system in Wales are shared, and demanded, across the country even now. Our national mission is to ensure that all citizens benefit from an equal opportunity to reach the highest standards. I am ambitious, and optimistic, about our collective ability to shape a system that is modern, excellent and innovative.

Universities are critical to that national mission. They should be open and outward-looking, connecting the civic, social and economic.

I want to take the opportunity today to share some thoughts on the role of universities as civic institutions.

  •   The challenge and necessity of civic engagement following the EU referendum;
  •   The role of universities as stewards of community, city and country;
  •   And the importance of innovation, a start-up culture and international links.

    Just before I move on, I’d like to congratulate the sector in Wales for achieving it’s highest-ever student satisfaction level in the National Student Survey last month – outperforming England in fact.

    Although we don’t take the narrow view of students as just a set of consumers, delivering the best possible student experience is a fundamental priority.


Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 2 Comments

Kirsty Williams on supporting teachers, pupils and students: her vision for Welsh education

Kirsty Williams has been talking to Wales Online about her plans on education secretary. Here are some of the best bits:

On supporting teachers

She used tact and sensitivity, unlike some education secretaries in Whitehall. You are not going to get anything done in schools without getting teachers onside.

“I think there is some excellent practice,” said Ms Williams.

“I think that there are schools and other education institutions that are doing amazing work and children that are having a great education experience, but my concern is that it is not universal.

“There are too many variables between schools – even between schools that find themselves in the same local authority.

“What I want to do is focus on making sure that good practice, that undoubtedly exists within the system in Wales, is shared and adopted by all schools so all of our children, regardless of where they live, have access to the very best education.

“What I have been struck with in recent weeks is that the profession in many areas does not feel valued and I want to raise the status of the teaching profession.

“We are going to be asking a lot of them, it is they that will make the difference to school standards in Wales, not me in an office in Cardiff Bay – so we need to support them to do the job that we expect of them.”

Curriculum reform

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | Leave a comment

Holding Kirsty to account

When set against the backdrop of our worst performance in a National Assembly election, Kirsty Williams’ elevation to the Welsh Cabinet is nothing short of remarkable. It is no exaggeration to say that she is one of the most powerful Assembly Members in the Senedd Chamber; she may be a lone Welsh Lib Dem voice, but the power to make or break the Welsh Government is hers.

With Kirsty’s support the Welsh Government can command 29 votes, the same as the opposition (less the presiding officer and deputy). A tied no confidence vote results in the presiding officer voting in favour of the status quo. Simply put, Labour’s First Minister Carwyn Jones loses his insurance policy if he doesn’t keep Kirsty onside.

The Welsh Party overwhelmingly endorsed the agreement at a special conference by more than 4 to 1. It is a huge, huge gamble, but it has nothing left to lose. With a Cabinet post comes profile, coverage and exposure that a sole backbench Lib Dem would never have. If you think the Party struggles to get coverage at the UK level, our Welsh coverage is next to nil outside of an election. Frankly, it gives the Welsh Liberal Democrats relevance in Welsh Politics when we should, according to our vote share, be irrelevant.

Without an Assembly group from which to take counsel, or to hold her to account, it also places Kirsty in a very powerful position in her relationship with the Party. With the Party’s endorsement under her belt, she can effectively operate as an independent and take decisions as she sees fit. So what measures will she be judged against, and who will hold her to account?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 11 Comments

+++Breaking: Welsh Special Conference to debate whether Kirsty Williams should enter Cabinet as Education Secretary

Kirsty Williams 2We knew last weekend that Kirsty Williams was talking to Welsh Labour about accepting a Cabinet position and now we know what it is and what she will be bringing to the Cabinet table, subject to the approval of the Welsh Party at a Special Conference on Saturday.

From the Welsh Liberal Democrat website:

Kirsty Williams and the First Minister have reached a Progressive Agreement between the two parties to work together in Government.

The First Minister has invited Kirsty Williams to serve as Cabinet Secretary for Education and subject to ratification by the Welsh Liberal Democrats this weekend, she has accepted.

The agreement enables the implementation of key Welsh Liberal Democrat policy priorities that the party campaigned on during the recent election, ensuring that:

Infant class sizes are reduced to a maximum of 25;
There are more nurses, in more settings, through an extended nurse staffing levels law;
20,000 extra affordable homes are funded;
A new ‘Rent to Own’ housing model is introduced;
Mental health discrimination is ended.
Members of the Welsh Liberal Democrats will be asked to endorse this agreement at a Special Conference will take place this Saturday (21 May).

Commenting on the invitation to be Cabinet Secretary for Education, Kirsty Williams AM said: “Government in Wales has entered a new era. Where there is common ground, we must have the confidence and ambition to work together for the good of its people.

“The test of our new approach is not the warmth of our words, but our commitment to get things done.

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 45 Comments

Could Kirsty Williams end up in the Welsh Cabinet? Should she?

After Wednesday’s fun and games in the Welsh Assembly, it has emerged that Kirsty Williams has been approached about possibly taking a seat in the Welsh Cabinet.

From the BBC:

BBC Wales also understands Mr Jones has discussed appointing Lib Dem AM Kirsty Williams as a cabinet minister.

Meanwhile the Welsh Tories suggested they will not support Leanne Wood for first minister again without a deal.

Neil Hamilton, UKIP assembly group leader, called on the smaller parties to “stick together” against Labour arrogance.

The Plaid Cymru leader was backed by the Conservatives and the seven UKIP AMs, as well as her own party,

Posted in News | Also tagged | 32 Comments

It all kicks off in Wales…

I suspect there may be a bit of buyers’ remorse setting in amongst the Welsh electorate soon if this afternoon’s shenanigans in the Welsh Assembly are anything to go by. Call me bitter if you like, but I think that swapping a conscientious Liberal Democrat group with its heart absolutely in the right place with a whole bunch of UKIP is not the wisest thing they could have done.

I go out for a couple of hours expecting that when I return, Carwyn Jones will have been elected First Minister. The only alternative would be for Plaid Cymru, Liberal Democrat Kirsty Williams, the Tories and UKIP (who have just ditched their Welsh leader and elected Neil Hamilton, yes, THAT Neil Hamilton as leader of their Assembly Group to gang up and outvote Labour. Then they could all govern together. That wouldn’t be awkward at all.

Incredibly, that, believe it or not, is what happened. Not Kirsty, of course. She was much too sensible, as you would expect.

That meant that the vote for First Minister was tied leaving an unholy mess for Elin Jones, the brand new Presiding Officer in her first session in the chair, to sort out. 

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 26 Comments

Recent Comments

  • User AvatarTonyJ 20th Oct - 9:33pm
    Like John, I hadn't seen Helen for a long time, and I didn't know her particularly well. But she was the archetypal LibDem activist. Solid,...
  • User AvatarSimon Shaw 20th Oct - 9:21pm
    @Peter "The Lib Dems are surely not major supporters of parliamentary democracy given the party’s willingness to transfer sovereignty to the EU and its unelected...
  • User AvatarCiaran McGonagle 20th Oct - 8:52pm
    There is a very reasonable argument that the US have impeded the development of the ICC. I can write an article about this if you...
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 20th Oct - 8:23pm
    Well Joseph, that just looks like one law for some and another for others. Illiberal.
  • User AvatarBarry 20th Oct - 7:41pm
    Re Daniel Walker, your policy of supporting proportional representation is a good one. We do need to get rid of the archaic and clearly not...
  • User AvatarDJ 20th Oct - 7:30pm
    "though it perhaps serves the purposes of those seeking any excuse for a second independence poll." If the Lib Dems do want to be the...