Tag Archives: welsh assembly

Breaking news: Welsh Lib Dems select Chris Twells as lead candidate for North Wales

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have selected local campaigner Chris Twells as the party’s lead candidate for the North Wales region at the next National Assembly for Wales election.

North Wales elected a Welsh Liberal Democrat AM at every election until 2016, when UKIP won two seats.

Chris was selected by Welsh Liberal Democrat members living in Ynys Mon, Arfon, Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham in an all-member ballot.

Chris was born in St Asaph and brought up in Rhosesmor, Flintshire, attending the Alun School in Mold before going on to study Law at the University of York. He has been an active Liberal Democrat member since joining the party as a student because of its strong pro-European stance and support for human rights.

Caradog Steffan John, a fluent Welsh speaker and former researcher at the Assembly was chosen as the second candidate for the North Wales list and Wrexham Councillor Rob Walsh secured third place. Donna Lalek, a Community Councillor from Flintshire and the second-placed candidate at the recent European election, will be the fourth candidate.

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“In the heart of Wales” – details of the special Welsh Lib Dem conference today

welsh lib demsThe Special Conference 2016 organised by Welsh Liberal Democrats is being held at Cefn Lea Park, Dolifor, Newtown, Powys, SY16 4AJ and will start at 11am.

There is one item of business to discuss:

That the Welsh Liberal Democrats endorse the Progressive Agreement announced on Thursday, 19 May 2016, by Welsh Labour and Kirsty Williams and the invitation made by the First Minister to Kirsty Williams AM to take up the position of Cabinet Secretary for Education within the Welsh Government.

The full text of the statement is available here.

All members of the Welsh Liberal Democrats are entitled to attend and vote.

The Conference will be a closed, member-only event. Media will not be allowed into the auditorium during the debate.

We’ll be covering the news from Dolifor here on Liberal Democrat Voice as the day progresses.

Cefn Lea Park is a holiday and conference centre “in the heart of Wales”. It’s set in beautiful rural surroundings. So Welsh Liberal Democrats will certainly have a tranquil environment in which to consider their future! You can read Cefn Lea Park’s conference brochure here.

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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. 

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Wales: The Results – another open thread

 

Like Caron in Scotland I will be trying to track results, this time for the National Assembly of Wales. I have to admit that here at Lib Dem Voice we are at a bit of a disadvantage because none of us lives in Wales nor are we fully conversant with all the issues (although I can sing Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau rather better than John Redwood, having learnt Welsh for a couple of years at primary school).

So be gentle with us, and help us out. We would very much welcome input from readers in beautiful Wales on @libdemvoice, or [email protected], or in the comments below.

But before the results start appearing on @britainelects, or your channel of choice, here is some essential background information.

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Jenny Randerson urges Welsh Labour voters to support the Lib Dems to stop Ukip

WalesOnline reports some interesting comments from Jenny Randerson ahead of next week’s Welsh assembly elections. Jenny said:

The truth is that Labour voters can stop Ukip gaining large numbers of Assembly Members. The power, so to speak, is in their hands.

Even Labour insiders know, in their heart of hearts, that it’s unlikely that they will pick up regional Assembly Members. Therefore, Labour voters must consider lending their regional vote to the Welsh Liberal Democrats to stop Ukip.

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Opinion: Welsh Liberal Democrats need to be bolder in considering a coalition without Labour

 

This past week in Wales, political ears pricked up after Stephen Crabb (the Conservative Secretary of State for Wales) gave support to the idea of a Conservative, Plaid Cymru, Liberal Democrat coalition in the Senedd after the May 2016 elections.

The ‘rainbow coalition’ almost happened in 2007 – but has more recently seen to be off the table, so backing (as it were) from such a prominent politician has sparked off some debate.

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Video – Kirsty Williams bonus

As a follow on to our earlier post, this was the video played last night at Cardiff City hall just before Kirsty Williams received her award as Welsh Assembly Member of the year. It’s worth watching. Kirsty can certainly “kick arse”.

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Kirsty Williams named Welsh assembly member of the year

rally kirsty williams 1Many congratulations to Kirsty Williams, who has been named AM of the Year as part of the Welsh Political awards. The award, given to Kirsty last night at Cardiff City Hall, was “for exercising her political skills to enable the First Minister to achieve his budget, but also allow the Lib Dems to claim significant policy gains in the areas of health and education.”

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Welsh Liberal Democrats to hold Assembly debate on Transgender awareness

Transgender pride flagThis week, as well as being Anti-Bullying Week, is Transgender Awareness Week. Thursday marks the International Transgender Day of Remembrance, a memorial to all those transgender people who have been injured and killed as a result of hate crime.

Tomorrow, the Welsh Liberal Democrats are holding a debate in the Welsh Assembly that aims to make life better for Wales’ 31,300 transgender citizen. The idea is to persuade the Welsh Government to actually put some walk to the talk. For those 31,300 people, there is no Gender Clinic in Wales. While violence against transgender people is a hate crime, there’s been little done to actually make people safer.

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Kirsty Williams condemns sacked Welsh Labour environment minister’s “smear campaign”

Kirsty WilliamsKirsty Williams, leader of the Welsh Lib Dems, has condemned Labour’s environment minister Alun Davies – sacked today by First Minister Carwyn Jones – for mounting a smear campaign. Mr Davies had asked for details of farm subsidies paid to five opposition AMs: Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies and Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams, Conservative AM Antoinette Sandbach, Liberal Democrat William Powell and Plaid Cymru’s Llyr Gruffydd.

Here’s Kirsty Williams’ response:

The actions of Alun Davies as a Minister are atrocious and completely unacceptable for anyone serving in public

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What’s going on in our Parliaments this week?

Welsh National Assembly - Senedd - Some rights reserved by Wojtek GurakWhat will be on our parliamentarians’ minds this week?

The Senedd

The most important thing from a Liberal Democrat point of view is the ending of the consultation period on Kirsty Williams’ minimum nursing levels bill which she wrote about here in March. If you have something you want to say on this, you have till close of business tomorrow. Here’s the information you need to respond.

Today sees an event to mark Welsh Refugee Week. Later in the week there …

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Kirsty Williams AM writes: Why Welsh Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru have joined forces

welsh-liberal-democratsThis week, and much to the surprise of many political commentators in Wales, Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood and I held a joint press conference announcing that we are to join forces to negotiate with the Welsh Labour Government on next year’s budget settlement.

In the National Assembly, the Welsh Government has exactly half of the Assembly Members. Therefore, each year the Welsh Government needs the support of at least one of the opposition parties to pass their annual budget. In the past, this has given the …

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Kirsty Williams AM writes: Welsh Liberal Democrats will fight for more for disadvantaged children

Yesterday the Welsh Labour Government submitted its £15 billion draft budget which reveals its spending plans for the next year.

In its current form, the Welsh Liberal Democrats cannot support this budget as we don’t believe it goes far enough to tackle the problem of making sure that children from deprived backgrounds get the fair start in life they deserve.

Last year, the Welsh Liberal Democrats vastly improved the Welsh Government’s budget by agreeing to support it in return for the introduction of a Welsh Pupil Premium. Despite failing standards in our schools and an ever growing spending gap per pupil when compared …

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Aled Roberts AM writes … Assessing the outcomes of a pupil premium in Wales

Education is a cornerstone of Liberal Democrat policy and principle. As Lib Dems we subscribe to the view that education is a crucial means by which individuals can realise their full potential. It was only fitting, therefore, that one of our key 2010 election pledges was the implementation of a policy which could address the inequalities in our education system – the Pupil Premium. It was a clear and straightforward manifesto pledge, easy to campaign on and one of the major Lib Dem policy accomplishments for England when Lib Dems went into Coalition Government. Accompanied by the Sutton Trust Toolkit …

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Kirsty Williams writes: A lack of transparency in the Welsh Government

At a time when the public has so little confidence in our political system, it is essential that Governments do all they can to create a more transparent system.

The Coalition Government in Westminster has recognised this and put in place significant changes for the good of democracy. It was only as a result of the UK government’s decision to publish all departmental spending over

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Opinion: Standing up for the rights of mobile home owners

A recent survey by a consumer watchdog has found that more than 40 per cent of park homes residents have said that they feel unable to sell or buy their home freely due to a fear of site operators blocking sales. Consumer Focus Wales has discovered that almost two-thirds (62 per cent) of park home residents in Wales who were interviewed have experienced problems on their site in the past five years, while 29 per cent have experienced problems with site maintenance, security or safety standards.

Local councils have also told the consumer watchdog that penalties are not severe enough for rogue site operators, while it is almost impossible to revoke a licence. The high costs of potential court cases against rogue site operators means that local authorities are reluctant to take action which might affect vulnerable residents.

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Kirsty Williams AM writes: Getting down to business in Wales

The long running saga of the ‘Welsh Lib Dem two’ has now been resolved but not without some pain. While Aled Roberts was able to re-take his seat as an Assembly Member, it was clear in the National Assembly that John Dixon did not have the same support.

I would like to pay tribute to John Dixon. He has served the public diligently and with distinction on Cardiff Council. He would have been an enormously effective and hard working Assembly Member. He has paid a very high price and I would like to pay tribute to him for the dignity with which he has handled the situation over the past two months.

Aled Roberts too has had a difficult couple of months but he is now back in the Assembly where he belongs and we have wasted no time in getting down to business and I have been able to announce the team that will hold the government to account.

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Lib Dem John Dixon will not return to the Welsh Assembly

John Dixon, the Liberal Democrat Welsh Assembly member who was disqualified in May, will not be reinstated after an investigation said he had not read the relevant rules for candidates.

He will be replaced by the next candidate on the party’s regional list: Eluned Parrott.

From the BBC:

Liberal Democrat John Dixon stood down after May’s election when it emerged he was a member of a public body to which AMs cannot belong.

On Wednesday AMs will decide whether to reinstate fellow Lib Dem Aled Roberts who fell victim to out-of-date advice.

Mr Dixon was elected for the South Wales Central region, but had to stand down because he was still a member of the Care Council for Wales, which regulates social care workers.

On Tuesday, a report by assembly standards commissioner Gerard Elias QC said Mr Dixon had not read the regulations on proscribed organisations for candidates.

“Perhaps because he was lulled into a false sense of security by his experiences in earlier elections, he honestly believed that he was eligible to be a member of the National Assembly,” the report says.

Mr Dixon, 46, a graphic and web designer, has been a Cardiff councillor for 12 years and had been an assembly candidate at two previous elections.

The report states:

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Lib Dem Welsh AMs await their fate as report delayed

John Dixon and Aled Roberts (the ‘dangling’ Lib Dem Two) may have to wait until next week to find out whether they will be reinstated following their disqualification in May.

WalesOnline reports:

Members of all parties were due to receive a copy of an Assembly report yesterday afternoon into the case of Aled Roberts and John Dixon, who are accused of breaching rules by remaining affiliated to organisations whose members are barred from standing for office.

The report, by Gerard Elias QC, the Assembly’s Commissioner for Standards, was sent to party leaders over the weekend, and was due to go

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Q&A with new Lib Dem AM William Powell

Over on the BBC website, William Powell, a newly elected member of the Welsh Assembly, has taken part in a Q&A to introduce some of the new AMs elected in May.

Here’s a sample:

Why stand for the assembly?To be a strong liberal voice for Mid and West Wales, including the old Liberal heartlands in Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire

Most frustrating thing about your first week as an AM?Negotiating the maze of corridors in the assembly buildings – no prizes for my orienteering so far

What’s your poison?Whipping Tree Ale, best-selling ale from the Rotter’s micro-brewery in Talgarth

First record you bought?Max Boyce – Live at

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Legal expert says Lib Dem Welsh AMs’ election is void

The former chief legal adviser to the Welsh Assembly, Winston Roddick QC, has said that two Assembly Members who have been disqualified cannot be simply reinstated.

When elected, John Dixon and Aled Roberts were members of public bodies to which AMs cannot belong. They have now resigned, respectively, from the Care Council for Wales and the Valuation Tribunal for Wales and it had been hoped that their reinstatement would be a technicality. However, the Lib Dem motion to reinstate the two was withdrawn last night when Labour refused to support it.

The BBC reports:

Mr Roddick, who was the

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Two Lib Dem Welsh Assembly Members step down on technicality

The BBC reports:

Liberal Democrats John Dixon and Aled Roberts have had to step down as it emerged they were members of organisations the law does not allow AMs to be part of.

They have resigned respectively from the Care Council for Wales and the Valuation Tribunal for Wales.

The pair expect to be readmitted to the assembly following a vote on Wednesday.

Under the National Assembly Disqualification Order 2011, AMs are not permitted to be members of certain organisations to avoid conflicts of interest.

A spokesperson for the Welsh Liberal Democrats said:

“Two assembly members had positions with outside bodies which technically disqualified them

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“Thursday is decision day” – Charles Kennedy’s eve of poll message to members and supporters

Charles Kennedy MP has emailed Liberal Democrat members and supporters with a “get out and vote” (and “get out the vote”) message, ahead of tomorrow’s elections and referendum:

Tomorrow you have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to have your say on how we elect our MPs to Westminster. Important elections are also taking place across the country for the Welsh Assembly, Scottish Parliament & local councils. Thursday is Decision Day.

When I was first elected in 1983, the idea of changing our voting system for Westminster elections seemed important, but the chance seemed remote. When the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly were established, neither

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LibLink: Veronica German – A healthier option

Over on the Wales Home website, Veronica German, Assembly Member for South Wales East up to the recent dissolution of the Assembly and candidate for that seat, has written a piece setting out the Welsh Liberal Democrats’ policies for the NHS.

Here’s an excerpt:

We need a modern NHS, that is worthy of our time – which is cost-effective, efficient and delivers better services. The more money we save by cutting inefficiencies, the more we can spend on delivering the best possible services for you and your family.

Welsh Liberal Democrats will cut waiting times by investigating claims of ineffective spending in

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The Welsh Referendum (Part 1) – What’s it all about?

There’s much talk about the House of Lords on-going ‘go-slow’ with the legislation for the AV referendum. The latest obstacle thrown up being the 40% voting turnout threshold. Meanwhile, the ‘Yes 2 AV’ campaign continues with its ground campaign in readiness for the expected d-day of May 5th.

But here in Wales of course, we have another referendum on our mind – the referendum on further powers to the Welsh Assemby in Cardiff Bay.

Referendum Day – March 3rd!

The referendum was promised by the ‘One Wales’ Labour-Plaid Cymru coalition government within the 4 year life-scale of the current government. With only two …

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By the way, the word you’re looking for is, “Whoops”

Or there’s the alternative headline the Voice decided not to use: The six Lib Dem MPs who were in favour of devolution before they were aginst it …. The BBC reports:

Liberal Democrats say an “error” led to several of their MPs supporting an attempt to block new powers for the Welsh assembly. Six signed an amendment to a new law that would have stopped the assembly acquiring powers over home education.

The Lib Dems are in favour of more devolution, and their Welsh education spokeswoman Jenny Randerson said her colleagues had signed in error. They will now remove their names

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Y Barcud Oren #11

Can it really be party conference season already? In Wales it can, as Plaid pop off to Llandudno this weekend where no-one will notice them (so what’s new…) In any case, what self-respecting journalist is going to waste their time on things that are actually happening when there’s good speculatin’ to be had?

Leaving On A Rhoose Plane

The target of said speculation is of course Rhodri Morgan, whose stated retirement date (his 70th birthday) is now just over two weeks away. With departure supposedly imminent, the pretenders to the throne have crept back into the shadows to avoid the appearance of giving an extra shove on the way off the precipice (Jon Cruddas’ trip to Wales to essentially endorse Huw Lewis as the “properly lefty” candidate notwithstanding.)

Mind you, Rhodri couldn’t have done a better job fuelling the speculation if he’d tried.

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Y Barcud Oren #5

And now on ITV 17, “Welsh Labour Politicians Say The Stupidest Things”…

Excuse Me While I Hate Myself

Our first clip comes courtesy of Rhys Williams, the Labour PPC for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr. A strongly Welsh-speaking area, Carmarthen East and Dinefwr is fairly iconic for Plaid; it’s the successor to Gwynfor Evans’ old seat and is now represented by The Next Leader Of Plaid Cymru™ and The Minister For Smoking In The Eli Jenkins. Equally, having been held by Labour so recently, it’s also often identified as vital for Llafur in re-establishing its Welshness.

Nevertheless, Mr Williams went in all guns blazing in a magazine article, chastising the Welsh-speaking community for using the language as a weapon of exclusion. Not that he has any problem with individual Welsh speakers; that would after all be quite difficult as he is one himself…

In a competitive seat, it would indeed have been electoral suicide, but Plaid were already going to open a big can of electoral whupass on Mr Williams anyway, so for him the greatest consequence will likely be a reminder of his idiocy on BBC Wales’ election night coverage. In any case, no-hoper Llafur candidates saying stupid things quickly took a back seat as the professionals got into the game…

L’Etat, C’est Morgan

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Jenny Randerson lodges official complaint against Rhodri Morgan with, erm, Rhodri Morgan

Jenny Randerson AM, Welsh Lib Dem Assembly Member for Cardiff Central, has today lodged an official complaint against Wales’s First Minister Rhodri Morgan amid concerns he may have broken the Ministerial code when discussing school closures in Cardiff. Her letter of complaint was sent by Jenny to Wales’s First Minister Rhodri Morgan because, as she noted in her letter:

My enquiries have shown that I have no alternative to write to you yourself over this issue as the Ministerial Code does not make provision for how to complain about the First Minister, only Welsh Ministers as a whole. I trust that

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Y Barcud Oren #4

Greetings from a less-than-snowy Cardiff, where the lack of meteorological chaos has allowed the business of devolution to continue unabated. More’s the pity…

Power To The Pobl

The big news is, of course, that the Welsh Language LCO is upon us. To the uninitiated (and, indeed, most of the initiated) it might seem strange that Welsh language powers aren’t already devolved, but that would be to assume that the current devolution settlement was designed with … well, anything really.

Not that the LCO does anything like devolving Welsh language powers anyway. Instead, it spends three pages caveating its way around the

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