Wales politics

Wales parliament call by Lib Dem leader Kirsty Williams

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Media captionKirsty Williams said independence was not the only solution for those wanting more control over their affairs

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams has told the national party conference it was time Wales had a "proper parliament".

She said the Scottish referendum had to be a lesson that people across the UK wanted more of a say over their future.

Speaking in Glasgow, Ms Williams called for a federal system made up of four equal nations.

She challenged other parties to sign up to the Silk Commission recommendations on further powers for Wales.

The Brecon and Radnorshire AM said: " I challenge them all to do as Nick Clegg has done and sign up to the Silk Commission's recommendations - so that Wales can speak as one voice.

"Wales must have a proper parliament. One that reflects the will of the people. One that has the powers to make a difference. One that shows that devolution really can work.

"Our message to the people of Wales is clear: A vote for the Liberal Democrats will be a vote for Wales to have a real say over its destiny."

She added: "Since the days of Lloyd George, Liberals have been the party of Home Rule. And I believe it's closer than it has ever been for a generation."

'Separatists'

Ms Williams said "complacency in Westminster" had allowed nationalists to thrive in Scotland and had "handed them the devolution agenda".

"The separatists wanted to divide our country and carve it up - and we almost let them do it," she told delegates.

"The current approach of relieving the pressure wherever the constitutional shoe rubs most is simply not good enough.

"If that approach continues, then don't be surprised if the Welsh conclude that it is only by voting nationalist that things will change. The Liberal Democrats must never let that happen."

'Place at the table'

The Wales party leader said Scottish ambitions for home rule, which she stressed they must gain, could not be achieved without meeting those of Wales, Northern Ireland and England.

"We are four nations distinct with our own ambitions, our own needs and our own outlook," said Ms Williams. "All these nations need a place at the table.

"We need a federal solution in which all four nations are equal partners in charge of their own destiny, as part of one united family - and now is the time to do it.

"The referendum must be a lesson that people across the UK want more of a say over their future.

"We must show them that change is coming, independence can't be their only option."

She also told the conference Labour had been in power since "the dawn of devolution" in Wales.

"Our Welsh assembly was supposed to be a symbol of hope, but Labour strangled that optimism," she added. "They have wasted the opportunity the National Assembly gave us."

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