Tag Archives: mark williams

Today at Welsh Conference

Welsh Liberal Democrats gather in Swansea this weekend for their first Spring Conference since the disastrous election last year which saw them lose four of their five AMs. The party has had to pick itself up from that heartbreaking and thoroughly undeserved defeat. It has re-organised its resources and is ready to fight the Council elections in May. They also have the only Liberal Democrat Minister standing, in Kirsty Williams, who is doing a great job as Wales’ Education Secretary. Below is their agenda for the day.

They are having discussion sessions with their party spokespeople, motions on students and the community, ending the right to buy and community banking and  a long debate on their council elections manifesto. The details are below.

Morning session

09:15 Opening of Conference
9:40 Party Spokespeople: Cllr Peter Black: Finance, Local Government, Heritage, & Housing Jane Dodds: Communities & Social Justice

10:00 Topical/Emergency Motion

10:20 PM1: Students and the Local Community

Conference notes:

  1. The positive impact of students and universities on the local economy
  2. The transient nature of student communities
  3. The tensions that can arise between long-term residents and the changing studentpopulation

Conference believes:

  1. Collaboration between groups leads to the most effective and sustainable solutions to the issues and challenges transient communities face
  2. That it is the responsibility of students, landlords, and local authorities to keep the local areas tidy
  3. More can and should be done to improve community relations between long-term and student residents

Conference calls for:

7. Local authorities to work with students unions and universities on a variety of projects including:

  1. Creating an information pack for students and landlords detailing what resources are available to them within the community. This can include material and adverts from local businesses and groups, guidance on contacting the council, guidance around bin collection and local events.
  2. Informing students of their rights as renters through online materials and workshops
  3. Run community building projects such as Cardiff Digs and Love Bangor
  4. Promote and work with Communities 1st and similar groups
  5. To recognise work done by students in the local community through the useof Higher Education Achievement Report or other award schemes

10:50 PM2: Standing up for our Local Communities

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LibLink: Mark Williams on happiness, which is still ground for punishment in Iran

 

Mark Williams has written an article for The Hill, the Washington based news source. Under the eye-catching headline “Happiness is still ground for punishment in Iran” Mark writes:

A couple of years ago, Western audiences were noticeably shocked at the news that several Iranian youths had been arrested for the “crime” of dancing together and posting a video of themselves celebrating life to the strains of an American pop song called “Happy.” It was one in a long series of vivid reminders of repression in Iran. But unfortunately it was one of only a few that have gained significant traction in the Western media. It left the European and American public with the right idea about the Islamic Republic, but also with a potentially incomplete picture of how serious and how pervasive the problem is.

He explains that the incident took place soon after the reportedly moderate Hassan Rouhani had taken over as President, and there was hope that things would change under his leadership.  But hopes were dashed.

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How Mark Williams intends to revitalise the Welsh Liberal Democrats

In his first interview as Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader, for Wales Online, Mark Williams talked about how the party would rebuild following the shattering defeat in the Assembly elections.

He seemed to cast doubt on the wisdom of concentrating campaigning in 4 constituency seats, saying the party needed to reach out to liberals across Wales:

He said: “There are huge swathes of Wales where we did not campaign at all, and that’s what we need to change.

“There are groups of Liberal activists around the country that need to be supported build strength on the ground.”

Mr Williams said election efforts had been concentrated in Brecon and Radnorshire, Cardiff Central, Ceredigion, Montgomeryshire – only the first of which was won.

Adamant there are many potential supporters in Wales, he said: “There’s a lot of people out there, maybe who were disaffected by the coalition experience, who we need to draw back into our party.

“Whatever the percentage was on Thursday, there are far more Liberals, people of Liberal thinking, out there.”

He looked to history to show that the party would recover:

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Mark Williams MP is the new Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader

Mark Williams MP by LIberal Democrats

Ceredigion MP Mark Williams has been confirmed as the new Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader by the Welsh National Executive Committee. As the only other Parliamentarian after Kirsty Williams stood down yesterday in the wake of the election results, he is the only other person eligible for the job as the Welsh Constitution outlines:

The Leader of the Party shall be elected from the Welsh Liberal Democrat members of the European Parliament, House of Commons and the National Assembly for Wales and shall become Leader of whichever Group they originate from.

From the Welsh Liberal Democrats’ website:

The National Executive Committee has announced Ceredigion MP Mark Williams as Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats following a meeting today.

Mark Williams was first elected the MP for Ceredigion in 2005. He studied at Aberystwyth University before working for Geraint Howells, the Liberal MP for Ceredigion, and then becoming a Research Assistant to Liberal Peers in the House of Lords. He later worked as a Primary School Teacher and Deputy Headteacher before being elected to Parliament.

Following the meeting, Mark Williams MP said:

“It is a great honour to become leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats.

“It is a great challenge to follow in the footsteps of Kirsty Williams, who has served us outstandingly for eight years through challenging times. Every one of us owe her a huge debt of gratitude.

“These coming months and years will test the flame of liberalism, and I will do everything possible to ensure that flame burns brightly again across our great nation.

“Despite the election results, I’m heartened by the growing number of members and activists joining us because they believe in our cause, and I call on any person who shares our values to join us in our fight.”

 

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Mixed emotions after Syria vote

Yesterday was a very strange day, full of mixed emotions for me. I had instinctively felt from the start of all of this that the case for extending air strikes into Syria had not been made and, although I came very close, I could never get to a place where I felt the risks to people on the ground outweighed the potential benefits. Had I been a Liberal Democrat MP, I would have voted against. I watched a huge chunk of the debate and it was, at times, difficult to see my feelings being expressed by members of other parties.

This wasn’t like the coalition years, though. On more than a handful of occasions, I sat through parliamentary debates with gritted teeth, often feeling apoplectic because I could not understand why on earth we had even entertained the idea of voting for, say, secret courts or some of the more brutal elements of welfare reform. Yesterday, though, I could totally understand and empathise with our leader’s stance, driven as it was by the best of liberal, humanitarian and internationalist motivations. He made an absolute cracker of a speech, delivered with passion and confidence. If you haven’t seen it, watch this extract:

Here is my response in the House of Commons earlier today, on the decision to take action on ISIL in Syria

Posted by Tim Farron on Wednesday, 2 December 2015

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Two Liberal Democrat MPs to vote against airstrikes?

It appears that the Liberal Democrats may not have a full set of MPs going through the Aye lobby tonight. The BBC’s Norman Smith tweeted a while ago:

Unfortunately, now that we can list our MPs in a single tweet, tracking down the two was not hard.

Even if John Barrett, former Lib Dem MP for Edinburgh West hadn’t left this comment:

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In full: Lib Dem MPs’ Commons tributes to Kennedy

We’ve already posted the video of the tributes to Charles Kennedy from the Commons on Wednesday and we’ve also posted Nick’s in full. We thought it might be useful to put the text of all five of the Lib Dem tributes, including Nick’s, in one post for ease of reference and posterity. They all did Charles proud. Greg and Mark talked about the way he really connected with ordinary people and about his concern for others. Norman spoke about his unfailing courtesy in his dealings with people, highlighting the need to tackle the stigma around mental ill health and emphasising Charles’ passions for internationalism and social justice. Tim’s emotional tribute spoke about Charles the persuader, how he could change minds and really tug on the heartstrings. Nick’s was just beautiful, and I particularly liked the memory he shared about their fly smoke outside the National Liberal Club where they discussed the Coalition. In years to come, I hope that Charles’ son and those who were close to him find great comfort and pride. To be universally admired in our tribal politics takes some doing.

I guess I should advise that if you are going to read all five of them in one sitting, you will need a cup of tea and a box of tissues.

So, here they all are, starting with:

Greg Mulholland

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