Wales politics

Lib Dems back Kirsty Williams's Welsh Government role

Kirsty Williams

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have endorsed Kirsty Williams's plan to sit alongside Labour ministers in the Welsh Government.

The party's only remaining AM was named education secretary on Thursday, subject to Saturday's approval at a special conference near Newtown, Powys.

She said the vote meant the party could play a part in "delivering real change in the way government works" in Wales.

Lib Dem leader Tim Farron had already backed the move.

After the vote, Ms Williams said: "I look forward to working with the first minister, with cabinet colleagues, and with other progressives to reduce class sizes, deliver more nurses, be ambitious in our approach to housing, ending mental health discrimination, and supporting teachers and our young people to achieve the highest standards."

Ms Williams has denied her appointment would effectively mean the Lib Dems ceased to exist in the assembly.

She was the only opposition AM to back Mr Jones in the initial deadlocked vote for first minister - with Plaid Cymru, the Conservatives and UKIP supporting Plaid leader Leanne Wood.

The deal between Ms Williams and Labour agrees a list of nine common priorities which include pledges from the Welsh Lib Dem election manifesto, such as limiting infant class sizes to a maximum of 25, extending a nurse staffing levels law and funding an extra 20,000 affordable homes.

On student finance, it also calls for the upcoming recommendations of the Diamond Review to be considered "with a view to early implementation where appropriate" but with no "negative effect" on the higher education budget.

Mark Williams MP, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, said he was "delighted" with the members' decision.

"We practice what we preach, the value of democracy through one member, one vote," he said.

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