Lib Dems’ hopes despite Welsh wipe-out

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Lavish Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable has said he is «optimistic» about his faction’s future in Wales despite its wipe-out at the general election.

He said the Welsh Lib Dems see fit soon have «a new face» as their leader.

Sir Vince said the contributor would also benefit from having Kirsty Williams as «a documentation of strength» in coalition with Labour in the Welsh Government.

He was talking to BBC Wales as the Large Democrats’ UK conference gets under way in Bournemouth.

Sir Vince told the Sunday Diplomacy Wales programme Education Secretary Ms Williams was doing «a phenomenal job» and keep away froming the mistakes the party made in coalition at UK level in ensuring that the renowned know about their «distinctive, positive» contribution to government.

The aid lost its only seat in Wales, Ceredigion, at the election, and in the process irrecoverable its Welsh leader, Mark Williams.

Party members will next month elected his successor, who will no longer have to be either an MP or an AM.

Sir Vince said: «There is a lot of inform we have to recapture, I recognise that. I’ve been down to Wales twice in the at the rear few weeks, but I’m optimistic.

«We have a strong, residual base, we have a lengthy tradition of being active and strong in Welsh politics and the fact that Kirsty Williams is in the coalition guidance is a source of strength.

«She’s achieving a great deal, getting a good sequel for students and aligning maintenance [grants] with the minimum wage, rejuvenating the pupil premium, she’s achieved a lot.

«Actually it’s one of the parts of the UK where we’re actually in superintendence and that’s a positive.»

‘Resurgence’

The Lib Dems did so badly in June they departed their deposit — polling less than 5% of the vote — in 36 out of the 40 seats in Wales.

«The breakdown of Ceredigion in particular was a blow because Mark was a terrific MP,» Sir Vince indicated.

«My job nationally at UK level is to try to build up our national vote share and, our people in Wales, we’ve got a sufficiently true-blue base good council groups in bits of south Wales, Swansea, Cardiff.

«We’re terribly strong in mid Wales and there’s a resurgence of optimism in north Wales, as I unearthed when I met our members there.

«In the past we’ve had a quarter of the vote in Wales. We’ve withdrawn down a long way from that but I think my job nationally is to build up the chauvinistic messaging, the Liberal Democrats as a party of government, I’m there as a potential prime sky pilot for the country and our Welsh colleagues will hopefully build on that podium.»

Sir Vince was trade secretary in the Conservative-Lib Dem UK coalition between 2010 and 2015. The aid lost 49 of their 57 seats across the UK and Sir Vince was queried what advice he would give to Kirsty Williams on how to handle coalitions.

He bid: «The important thing when you’re in a coalition government, you are part of a team. I had a big government department in the coalition government in the UK. I had eight ministers, two Lib Dems.

«You participate in to work in a team with people who are your political opponents but when you do something singular, positive, you’ve got to let the public know that this is the Lib Dem contribution. We perhaps didn’t do satisfactorily of that when we were in the UK government and I know Kirsty is doing that exact well in Wales.»

‘Phenomenal’

A change in party rules means the new Welsh Lib Dem numero uno does not have to be an elected politician, only someone who has been approved to survive c jilt as a candidate for the Welsh Assembly or Westminster.

Sir Vince said: «It will be a new change ones expression and that is the way the party wanted to go. Kirsty is doing a phenomenal job but combining running with being a minister with a serious cabinet job in the Welsh Superintendence, it was a burden she couldn’t continue to carry.

«We’ve got a lot of talent, I’ve met a lot of them and I’m sure we leave get good Welsh leadership. I’ve no problem with that.»

Sunday Government Wales, BBC One Wales, Sunday 17 September, 11:00 BST

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