Tag Archives: mark williams

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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Baroness Jenny Randerson writes…Optimism and determination of Welsh campaign teams is impressive

When I am travelling around Wales I take every opportunity as to go out campaigning with our Welsh MPs. Last week I was out knocking doors with Mark Williams and his team in Lampeter. I am a seasoned Ceredigion campaigner- I don’t think I have missed an election there in the last 15 years. So I know what to expect, and the atmosphere hasn’t changed. Mark is known by almost everyone and regarded with huge respect for his constant hard work in a constituency where local issues are particularly important.

In Brecon and Radnor the “Williams Team” are equally well known and Roger is particularly well established in the farming community. Campaigning in such a sparsely populated area is never easy and elections in B and R are not for the faint hearted. But once again we have the benefit of a well-liked and respected candidate and a strong local party able to support him.

Cardiff Central is about as big a contrast as you can imagine: it is geographically the smallest Welsh constituency but, as an inner city seat it has a big turnover of population. I live in the area so it is no surprise that I campaign there regularly. As a Labour facing seat it will obviously be very closely fought and Jenny Willott’s Labour opponent is particularly well funded as she is a Trade Union lawyer. Jenny and our team are working as hard as it is possible to do and, once again, her name is well known and her reputation for hard work is frequently mentioned. Labour infighting on the Council and their plans to close libraries and reduce bin collections have persuaded a lot of local people that they cannot be trusted. The core Lib Dem team in Central are experienced, tough campaigners, but there are also a lot of new members, many of them young, for whom this is their first general election as activists.

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Congratulations, Jo Baker: Lib Dem Researcher of the Year!

Huge congrats to Jo Baker – researcher for Mark Williams, Lib Dem MP for Ceredigion – for winning The House Magazine and PoliticsHome.com’s Liberal Democrat Researcher of the Year!

Posted in Parliament | Also tagged , and | 1 Comment
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