Stephen Williams selected to fight West of England mayoral election

Great news from the West of England. Former MP for Bristol West Stephen Williams will be the Liberal Democrats candidate for mayor of the West of England Combined Authority:

The election takes place in May 2021.

His selection was covered in Bristol Live

In a statement announcing his bid, he said: “This election really matters to people’s everyday lives because the mayor decides where a lot of money is spent to improve buses, cycling and other ways to get around, new housing and creating new jobs.

“I know our area well because before I went into politics I had jobs in all three parts of the West of England.”

He added: “Many residents won’t know much about the current mayor because he is completely invisible.

“I’m completely different because I love meeting local people, listening to them and then getting on with delivering what they need.

“I have a strong record of local action and know how to get results.”

Bath and North East Somerset’s Liberal Democrats announced his candidacy this morning (Friday, July 24), and said they have confidence that he could win.

Dine Romero, leader of Bath and North East Somerset Council, said: “Stephen is a really strong contender and if he wins he will definitely make things happen in the West of England and that is desperately needed right now.”

At South Gloucestershire Council, Lib Dem group leader Claire Young said Mr Williams is “the only candidate who can beat the Conservative in May.”


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  • Hardly good news. He was the most pompous and inept of our junior ministers during the coalition, regularly the subject of knowing comments behind his back from his parliamentary colleagues and party staff. I can only assume we don’t expect to win the mayoralty next time around.

  • Use your full name, Ian.

  • Paul Barker 25th Jul '20 - 5:03pm

    if you cant say anything useful, better to say nothing.

  • He has been elected before so he can be elected again. Give the guy a chance!!

  • Sue Sutherland 26th Jul '20 - 2:24pm

    I think Ian has unwittingly shown us some of what went wrong in Coalition. There was little sense of team playing and a great deal of large egos vying for position. When we get back to the number of MPs we had then I hope there’ll already be a change of culture in the Parliamentary party. We should stop thinking our MPs are amazingly wonderful because that only encourages them. Instead they should be much more aware of the value of the team that put them there and work together as a team in Parliament.
    Liberals shouldn’t want the trappings of power like being called Sir, Lord or Baroness, we should be in power for a purpose, to make life better for everyone. Instead we ended up with lots of titles and making life worse for many people.
    I hope Stephen wins because he will be part of creating a fair society.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 26th Jul '20 - 4:06pm

    Agree questioning someone so obviously in a very personal criticism, as David, Paul colleagues say, the person doing it should reveal the name at least of the critic!

    As in the performing arts, critics are frustrated because some get out there and get judged , sometimes praised, while the pusher of the pen , not a playwright, nor a performer ever, merely indulges people in their whim and woe.

    Sue says it best. Stephen ought to be backed for his programme. I favour an honours list and to be fair, some deserve plaudits, but candidates deserve election, after selection, if offering something.

    The party offers better in that region than the incumbent. He should get support.

  • Adam Pritchard 26th Jul '20 - 5:47pm

    I worked closely with Stephen during coalition. He inherited a fairly thankless portfolio with DCLG (Sir Eric Pickles was canny, and had palmed Lib Dems off with insubstantial responsibilities).
    Stephen took this and ran with it, off the top of my head he gained a massive suite of rights for the Cornish, a zero carbon homes standard and additional cash for rural communities in the local gov settlement.
    He’s a man who knows how to get things done and while no one is above criticism I think Ian’s comment is a bit cheap.

  • Adrian Sanders 29th Jul '20 - 3:12pm

    Firstly, I don’t know who Ian is and I personally think it is cowardly to mount such a personal attack on someone effectively anonymously. Stephen will make an excellent elected Mayor – just a pity such illiberal posts concentrating power in the hands of an individual exist.
    Secondly, Ian joins a chorus of commentators who criticise our MPs who took on responsibilities within the Coalition Government implementing the Coalition Programme for Government. This was a programme a majority of MPs, excluding myself, had voted for, that was endorsed by the FE and was overwhelming supported at a special conference of the Party. The way that coalition was led from the top was a disaster for the Party, but many of the things it achieved, including under Stephen’s tenure as a Minister, cannot be claimed by our Party while hoping that unpopular policies will be forgotten. I tried that and still lost my seat. Coalitions, and our leadership contenders both refuse to rule one out in the future, don’t allow you to pick and choose. The fact remains that those voters who felt let down by the coalition we formed with the Conservatives will remain let down. I still judge Tories today, who weren’t even born when Thatcher was PM, by the actions of the divisive and destructive Governments she led. Why should we expect voters who lived though the Coalition to treat us any differently whenever it was that we joined the Party. It is policies that address current global, national and local challenges together with integrated campaigns and a credible economic policy that convinces electors we can deliver on our promises that will see us start to rebuild a Parliamentary force big enough to become the third Party again. Attacking anyone who played a role in the coalition is only going to prolong that journey. Electing Mayor Williams just might shorten it a little.

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