Jane Dodds, new Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats
Wales needs the Welsh Liberal Democrats back in the Assembly and back in Westminster.
If we can transform Welsh education and the life chances of our children and young people with just one Cabinet member – just imagine what more we could do with a large group holding the balance of power in the Assembly.
I just wanted to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Mark Williams who led our party during an incredibly difficult time for our party.
Not only did Ceredigion lose a fantastic representative and champion, but Westminster lost an incredibly talented, passionate, and authentic liberal voice.
I have set the Welsh Liberal Democrats a challenge; that we return a group of Welsh Liberal Democrats to the Assembly in 2021, and that we elect parliamentarians from Wales in 2022, including Mark Williams in Ceredigion.
Our challenges are to get across the reason for the Liberal Democrats in Wales; we need to train our members and candidates, grown our membership, win council elections and shape a distinctive liberal agenda for Wales and our party.
It will be an agenda that will be outward looking, tolerant, fair and green, not the narrow-minded, defensive and divisive agendas which are doing such harm in our communities.
Working with our staff and party officers in responding to feedback from members we will create a whole-Wales party which equips members to campaign in their communities, to get involved, to shape and share our message, and to grow their local membership.
Repeating what we’ve always done won’t be enough. We need to think differently and do differently if we want to change the outlook for our party.
I will work hard as the Leader to re-establish the Welsh Liberal Democrats as the radical, progressive force of Welsh politics.
And also to bring like-minded people together to build a movement and to create a liberal Wales.