After a month long campaign, Welsh Liberal Democrats gathered in Cardiff on 3rd November to see Jane Dodds elected by the party membership as the new Leader, replacing interim Leader, Kirsty Williams.
Jane Dodds, from Montgomeryshire, beat Elizabeth (Liz) Evans from Aberaeron, having secured 53.1% of the vote. The result was announced by the Welsh Liberal Democrats Returning Officer, former Assembly Member, Lord Mike German.
Andrew Lye, the Chair of the Carmarthenshire & Pembrokeshire Liberal Democrats Local Party attended the announcement.
“I had no prior notice as to who had won. I heard it when Mike German made the announcement. We had to change the Welsh Party Constitution to widen the pool of potential candidates to include approved Parliamentary and Assembly candidates. With the rebuilding that has been going on within the party over the last year or two, we now have a Leader who does not have a role in London or Cardiff and can spend her time campaigning in Wales. I have already invited her to our counties and no doubt, she will be among us shortly. Indeed, Jane was on ITV’s “Sharp End” last night, with Adrian Masters, so she is hitting the ground, running. Jane is also expected to name her team in the next few days”.
Jane Dodds said “I am honoured and humbled to have been elected the new Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats. The leadership campaign gave us the opportunity to reset the dial and open up a conversation about what’s next for our Party and for Welsh liberalism. It marks the beginning of the revival of our Party across Wales. The revival of a progressive, reforming party which offers a clear liberal alternative to the public on tackling inequality and climate change, and giving the public an exit from Brexit”.
Jane Dodds continued “My priorities are clear. Setting out our stall as a progressive and reforming party for Wales based on the values of liberalism, freedom, and equality. Creating an attractive narrative about our Party and Welsh liberalism to reconnect with voters. We must train, support, develop and encourage our members and activists, creating the next generation of candidates and activists across Wales. We must engage with our businesses, our farmers and our communities to listen to their ideas about what we need to do to make Wales a vibrant, outward looking country. We must reach out to the disenfranchised in our society, seeking to be a voice for those who have been marginalised and left behind.”
Andrew Lye said “That the party has been growing gradually in West Wales as a consequence of the effects of the Brexit vote. We have to be prepared for when we draw nearer the March 2019 deadline, for when we are supposed to leave the EU. Theresa May seems determined to lead the UK over the cliff to economic Armageddon, whereas no one really knows where Labour under Corbyn are heading, except when there are important votes and he whips Labour to join with the Tory MP’s. The Welsh Liberal Democrats are prepared to continue to warn of the dangers of a hard Brexit and no deal. Crashing out of the EU will certainly not create the golden future that the Brexiteers seem to keep harking on about. We will continue to press the case to “Exit From Brexit” and as Lord Kerr, the architect of Article 50 said the other day, that Brexit CAN be stopped.”
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