Wales politics

Welsh Lib Dems 'standing up for communities'

Mark Williams
Image caption We have the ideas, the drive, and the passion to deliver better public services, says Mark Williams

The Welsh Liberal Democrats will show they are "the champions of community politics", their leader has said.

Mark Williams was speaking ahead of the party's spring conference in Swansea this weekend.

The Welsh Lib Dem are defending 75 of Wales' 1,254 council seats in May's elections having gained councillors since the 2012 poll.

The party has been part of a Conservative-led coalition running Monmouthshire over the past five years.

"This conference will set out our commitment to the communities of Wales for the upcoming elections in May," Mr Williams said.

"The Liberal Democrats are the champions of community politics, standing up in the best interests of our communities at every turn.

"This conference will show that we have the ideas, the drive, and the passion to deliver better public services and a more accountable politics."

The Liberal Democrats won 72 council seats in Wales five years ago - down from 164 in 2008 - in the first set of national elections held after the party formed a coalition with the Conservatives at Westminster in 2010.

Since 2012, the party has made a net gain of three council seats as a result of by-elections and defections.

In the 2015 general election, the Liberal Democrats lost two Welsh seats leaving Mark Williams as the party's only MP from Wales.

Image caption Kirsty Williams is now a minister in the Labour-led Welsh Government

The 2016 Welsh Assembly election saw Kirsty Williams return to Cardiff Bay as the party's only assembly member after four of her colleagues lost their seats.

Ms Williams was appointed to the Labour-led Welsh Government as education secretary.

She will address the conference on Saturday although the party's UK leader, Tim Farron, will not be attending.

Despite electoral blows in recent years the Liberal Democrats have made several by-election gains since the EU referendum.

Brexit will be high on the agenda this weekend as the party hopes to attract voters who wanted the UK to remain part of the EU.

"We come together after a difficult year for progressives, to reunite, to rebuild, and to look ahead to the future of progressive, liberal politics in Wales and the UK," Mr Williams said.

"We are more determined than ever to fight for an open, tolerant and united country where everyone has the opportunity to succeed."

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