The view from Wales: Lib Dems resurgent

Whatever you might say about the Welsh Liberal Democrats we are tenacious. From standstill in last May’s Assembly elections; to summer chaos, as we attempted to forge a coalition with the wrong parties only to see Plaid Cymru walk away to join up with Labour; to a set of local election results in which we not only held our own but actually advanced on our 2004 high.

Of the 33 net gains by the Liberal Democrats on 1 May, 21 of them were in Wales. In three of the four Councils we lead we increased our representation and consolidated our position, whilst elsewhere we became key players in future administrations.

In Cardiff we gained three seats and confirmed our status as the largest party. Talks are now underway to form a coalition there, ending four years of minority control. In Swansea, we made a net gain of four seats and look set to lead a majority coalition with the independents. In both cases this is reward for the way we have turned around both Cities after decades of Labour neglect.

In Wrexham we now have three more Councillors and are the largest group. It is likely that we will once more be leading a coalition administration there. In addition to these the Welsh Liberal Democrats now form part of the new administration in Anglesey and could play a significant role in any anti-Labour alliance in Flintshire.

It is likely that the handful of seats we won in Blaenau Gwent, Conwy, Gwynedd and Torfaen, as well as our more significant presence in Merthyr, will lead to us either being part of the administrations there or having influence. It is also likely that we will play a major role in Ceredigion, where we defeated the Plaid Cymru PPC, and Newport, where there are two deferred elections for six seats, three of them currently held by us.

Although we are the smallest opposition party in the Assembly we continue to punch above our weight. We demonstrated previously how we could make a success of government at an all-Wales level, now we have a further opportunity to show voters in many more Council areas what we can do at a local government level as well.

* Councillor Peter Black AM blogs here.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds and Wales.
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8 Comments

  • Cymru Rydd – Cymru Ryddfrydol!!
    Well done Welsh Lib Dems, from a former Wales resident, now exiled across the pond.

    Special well done to my old friend Paul Meara, one of the winnders in Sketty.

  • Good to have some good news from Wales at last.

  • Mark Wright 8th May '08 - 10:31pm

    A 5 member ward? That’s nuts under FPTP!

  • david Langshaw 8th May '08 - 10:55pm

    Is there any indication of how the votes were distributed in the more winnable constituencies?

  • “Is there any indication of how the votes were distributed in the more winnable constituencies?”

    Difficult to say,

    A great result in Wrexham where we are second in Westminster elections, becoming the largest group and continuing to lead the Council.

    Newport East, a key target is an interesting one, we made significant gains but are currently awaiting a deferred election in our group leader/PPCs ward. Any help would be appreciated I am sure.

    Not sure how Swansea divided up between Swansea West and elsewhere, sure peter can tell us.

    Merthyr, where we are in a strong second place was an exceptional result, going from 0 – 6 on Thursday, including taking out the Council Leader and are now only two seats behind Labour.

    In terms of held seats:

    Held our ground very well in Ceredigion, and took out the Plaid PPC.

    Montgomeryshire and Brecon and Radnor were pretty steady, considering this was the first “political” election ever.

    Cardiff Central was a full sweep, taking back the only non-Lib Dem seat in the constituency.

    All in all, I think we have moved the party forward considerably. There are clearly 4 or 5 constituencies where we have a realistic chance of winning in the next two General elections.

  • And when I say four or five, that is obviously on top of our held seats.

  • REX SHELTON 12th May '08 - 5:58pm

    Found this site by accident. Now living in Cornwall we hear little about Wales.
    Excellent news. Well done –wish we could offer similar news from Cornwall but the rich boys have moved in London and we are in trouble. The Tories are having a ball

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