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Lib Dems not facing ‘existential threat’ like he did says candidate who almost died from Covid

08 May 2021 3 minutes Read
William Powell – Liberal Democrat candidate

Elgan Hearn, local democracy reporter

A Liberal Democrat candidate has said that the party is in much better shape than he was last year when he survived an almost lethal bout of Covid-19.

William Powell spent several weeks unconscious and on a ventilator because of Covid-19 but bounced back to contest the Brecon and Radnorshire seat at Thursday’s election.

The constituency seat, the Liberal Democrats’ last in Wales at Westminster or the Senedd, was taken by Conservative James Evans.

But William Powell, a Powys Councillor, told his fellow members despite the setback, things looked bright for next year’s local elections.

“This is a time of challenge for the Welsh Liberal Democrats, I’ve heard the phrase the term existential threat used,” he said.

“But I must say, on this day last year I left hospital after six weeks of significant ill health, with covid and related matters and I tell you this is not an existential threat.

“We have a very strong base on which to build in terms of the 2022 Powys Council elections, evidence of very strong and growing support in the wards that we hold and we aspire to hold, but that’s for another day.”

He added that as part of his recovery he had completed his first post election 5km and felt “much better for it.”

‘Reset’

James Evans who won the Brecon and Radnorshire seat,  paid tribute to outgoing Senedd Member Kirsty Williams for her service to the constituency, which “must be appreciated.”

Mr Evans said: “This is the biggest honour of my life, being able to represent my home, representing communities right across Brecon and Radnorshire is truly humbling.

“Thank you for putting your faith in me to be your next Senedd member for the next five years.

Mentioning William Powell’s brush with death last year, he paid tribute to his opponent.

“I’d like to thank the other candidates especially William, who is very lucky to be here and I wish you all the best for the future.

“Today the people pressed the reset button, they wanted a fresh start in Brecon and Radnorshire, they wanted a new voice to represent them.

“I will fight tooth and nail for Brecon and Radnorshire, thank you for putting your trust in me, and now let’s get on with the job.”

Results

Labour’s Gethin Jones, said: “I want to thank everyone in my campaign team, especially people in Ystrad and Brecon that have worked so hard for years to get us to a place to do this.

“Thanks to all in Brecon and Radnorshire who have been so welcoming and kind to me and especially all my opponents, it’s been a fantastic experience for me.”

Emily Durrant – Green Party – 1,556

James Evans – Conservative – 12,741

Grenville Ham – Plaid Cymru – 2,075

Sam Holwill – Gwlad – 75

Gethin Jones – Labour – 4,980

Karen Laurie-Parry – Independent – 345

Claire Mills – Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party – 1,209

John Muir – Reform UK – 213

William Powell – Liberal Democrat – 8,921

In total 32, 275 votes were cast and the constituency turnout was 58 per cent.

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