Wales politics

Pro-EU stance will help Lib Dems in council polls - ex-MP

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Media captionThe public has the right to finish the Brexit process through a second referendum, Roger Williams said.

Speaking up for voters who wanted to remain in the European Union will help the Liberal Democrats in May's local elections, says ex-MP Roger Williams.

Last June, 52.5% of Welsh voters chose to leave while 47.5% wanted to remain.

Mr Williams said speaking up for the remain voters would give a boost to the traditionally pro-EU Lib Dems.

He said that UK voters should have the right to finish the Brexit process through a second referendum on the terms of exit.

Mr Williams, who lost his seat in 2015, told the final day of the party's Welsh spring conference in Swansea on Sunday he had accepted the first referendum's result.

"It's the will of the people," he said.

But he reiterated the party's call for a referendum on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, saying: "The people of the UK started this process, and I believe the people of the UK should have the right to finish it as well.

"They will want to see what this process has brought for them in terms of their lives, their families, their businesses and of the environment."

Earlier conference delegates passed a motion calling on the UK government to "reconsider its hard Brexit stance" and allow a further referendum.

'Real vein'

Prior to his speech, the former Brecon and Radnorshire MP told BBC Wales: "We've found a real vein of support thanks to our response to the hard Brexit proposed by Theresa May."

"Like a lot of elections there will be local issues but it will be the generally positive and supportive mood music that the party has generated that'll lead to a good response on the doorstep.

"Yes there are people who will be determined to leave [the EU] and to have as hard a Brexit as possible, these people we won't convince.

"But there will be a lot of voters who will appreciate us standing up for our values, and wanting to support our candidates."

The Liberal Democrats had ran councils in Cardiff, Swansea Newport and Wrexham but now they do not control any and have only 75 councillors across Wales.

Image caption Mark Williams said a second referendum could stop Brexit

Welsh party leader Mark Williams told BBC Radio Wales "Brexit will happen" - but it could be stopped by a second poll on the negotiations.

"If people reject the plans as presented by the government in a referendum then we are where we are and we are in Europe," he told the Sunday Supplement programme.

He said "Brexit will happen" meant the "Conservative government are going to negotiate a Brexit plan", which it would be held to account over.

Mr Williams is himself hoping to win a seat on Powys council in the local council elections on 4 May.

Delegates also backed a party proposal to call for a tax on take-away food and drink packaging that is not recyclable or part of a deposit return scheme.

The party's environment spokesman, former AM Bill Powell, said: "Clearly this matter resonates with people.

"We need to go out there and make absolutely clear that we're committed to the key principles of a sustainable Wales."

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