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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10 Comments

  • What would have happened if he didn’t want to do it?

  • From the last sentence in the Welsh Constitution:-

    “…and shall become Leader of whichever Group they originate from.”

    This can be read as deposing Farron, particularly as there are no other Welsh MPs to lead.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 7th May '16 - 9:16pm

    Mike, if we’re going to get into constitutional geekery, the Welsh constitution can’t bind the federal one, but I see where you are coming from.

  • Jonathan Brown 8th May '16 - 12:08am

    This isn’t a comment on Mark, who I really don’t know at all (although I’ve heard good things about from Welsh Lib Dems I know), but I wonder whether this should just be temporary until we can get the constitution changed to allow a wider pool of candidates than just 1?

    I would have thought that Mark is already pretty busy, and I’ve not heard anything about him which suggests he’s wildly more popular than Kirsty, so becoming leader could be a bit of a poisoned chalice for him and not necessarily in the wider interests of the party either.

    When we’re down to such a small number of elected representatives, I think it makes sense to go beyond the traditional (indeed, the constitutional) limits. Tim Farron recruited his ‘Shadow Cabinet’ from outside of the members of the House of Commons, which was not only an indisputable necessity but enabled him to make some decent – and much more representative – appointments.

    I finish with a question rather than a request: should the Welsh Lib Dems do the same?

  • Mark’s a great guy – I was part of the student team in 2010 that helped him get a monster majority in that election. I’m not sure if he’s intending to stick in the roll long-term (I suspect that the WLD autumn conference will debate opening up the candidate pool) but I do wish him the best of luck.

    We have a tonne of excellent campaigners and workers in Wales – the trick is going to be to get heard.

  • John Barrett 8th May '16 - 10:22am

    Congratulations Mark and best wishes for the future.

    I am confident that Mark will do a good job, but it does make sense not to restrict such posts to one person as they not only have too much to do, but if there are others out there who can work as a team, why not use them.

    It will also stop those who will say we are a “one man band”.

    Bringing in members who have the talent or experience to communicate with a wider audience makes a lot of sense.

  • GWYN WILLIAMS 8th May '16 - 2:31pm

    It always surprises me how lucky we have as a Party that despite our lack of parliamentary representatives that we find someone who chimes with the electorate. I have known Mark since he was a student in Aberystwyth University. His success in Cerdigion did not come overnight. It took the best part of 2 decades. It will be by example that Mark will lead. It is time for us all to support Mark. He has not sought this role but neither did many of his predecessors as Geraint Howells used to say “I led myself for 4 years”.From the Welsh Liberal Party’s foundation in the 60’s until the formation of the Welsh Assembly in 1999 every Welsh MP became leader of the Party. It was an occupational hazard. We can grieve for a very short time for what we have lost but then we must get on with the job.

  • Richard Underhill 9th May '16 - 7:52am

    Kirsty Williams should be given support at this time.
    The Labour leader in the Welsh Assembly has said that he will talk with Liberal Democrats and with Plaid Cymru but not with Conservatives or UKIP.
    As he is one member short of a majority it is important to be careful. We should not compare him with Charles Haughey, but the Progressive Democrats in Ireland always made sure that there were always two people present to ensure a witness.
    Labour people like to tell about when they had only one MP. A policeman asked if he was going to work on the roof, but he replied “No, on the floor.”
    A party with one member can punch above its weight. For instance the question that Green MP Caroline Lucas asked David Cameron at PMQ about educational tests was unanswerable by him on Wednesday 4/5/2016.
    When the Liberal leader was offered one cabinet place by Winston Churchill in peacetime he was refused.

  • This was initially announced as Mark Williams taking over until a leadership election could be organised (BBC) – is it now the position that the FE has read the rulebook and realised that he is the only eligible contender in any leadership election (barring a rule change)?

    As someone else said, it’s a good thing he wanted it. It may be that this was foreseen some time in advance, as MW along with Clegg is the only MP not a member of the shadow team.

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