Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Kirsty Williams has backed the party's president, Tim Farron, to be its next leader at Westminster. He's one of just eight MPs who survived the Lib Dems' disastrous election night last week.
Kirsty Williams issued a joint statement this morning with the party's Scottish leader, Willie Rennie, who's also backing Tim Farron.
Thursday’s results were devastating for the Liberal Democrats.
Our pain is eased by the knowledge that our liberal gains in government will endure.
Despite our loss our party remains optimistic, hopeful and confident about what we can achieve on behalf of Britain.
However, we now have to earn the right to be listened to again.
To move forward we need a fresh start. With that in mind we call on Tim Farron to stand to be our next Federal Leader. We believe he is the right person to rebuild our party, inspire and lead us into next year’s election campaigns. We will wholeheartedly support him if he decides to put himself forward.
The leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats says voters should be given the right to be able to sack their Assembly Members without waiting for an election. Kirsty Williams made the call in a speech in Cardiff.
She denies that the move will undermine the principle of representative democracy, saying instead that it will make politicians more accountable to the people who elect them.
You can see the full interview with Kirsty Williams in Sharp End at 1140pm on ITV Cymru Wales.
The public should be able to hold Assembly Members to account by making them face by-elections in their constituencies, the Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams will say in a speech later.
Under her plan, voters in a constituency would sign a recall petition if they were angered by their AM's actions. If enough voters -20%- signed the petition, a by-election would be held and the AM would have to seek re-election if he or she wanted to stay in office.
There is a debate raging about the right to recall in Westminster. In Wales, it hasn’t been on the agenda at all. Today I will put it on the agenda and state clearly that I believe the people of Wales should have the right to recall their Assembly Members.
There is something fundamentally wrong with the fact that once elected, a politician can do as he or she pleases and their constituents can do nothing about it for five years.
Currently, an Assembly Member would only lose their seat outside of an election if they were imprisoned for more than 12 months. That’s a pretty high bar and I believe it must change.
Under Kirsty Willlams' plan, regional list AMs could also be removed from office but the signatures of a fifth of the voters in every constituency in their region would be required. There would be no by-election, the regional AM would simply be replaced by the next person on the party list.
Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams, who's often one of the fiercest critics of Welsh Labour's running of the health service, has condemned the UK Health Secretary's claims about the NHS in Wales.
Jeremy Hunt claimed that Welsh patients seeking treatment in England are causing "huge pressure" on hospitals there. He also said that the Welsh NHS is not prepared to pay for their treatment, a claim described as "nonsense" by the Welsh Government.
Kirsty Williams is AM for Brecon and Radnor, where many people have hospital treatment across the border. She has now written to Jeremy Hunt, stating that he is wrong on three counts.
Firstly, a good number of my constituents receive excellent care at The County Hospital in Hereford, and have done for many years because The County is their nearest District General Hospital. Whilst I know that there are problems in the Health service in Wales, I am alarmed that the current rhetoric might give my constituents the incorrect impression that they are not welcome or able to access treatment in Hereford, thereby putting them at risk of harm. Secondly, in terms of payment, you will well be aware that all treatment received by Powys patients in Hereford is then paid for by Powys Teaching Local Health Board. There should be no inference whatsoever that any of my constituents are receiving or expecting to receive treatment that is not then paid for. Finally, I take issue with you claiming that my constituents being treated in Hereford causes ‘great pressure’ on the system in England. Actually, having Welsh patients treated at The County Hospital helps maintain the services there by contributing significantly to the critical mass of patients needed to sustain a hospital of The County’s size.
Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams will tell her party's UK conference in Glasgow that proposals to give the Welsh Assembly significant new powers should receive all party backing. The Silk Commission said important tax raising powers should be devolved to Wales, together with new areas of responsibility, including policing.
Energy, justice, tax varying powers, the list goes on - all will be delivered by the Liberal Democrats. Now is the time for the other parties to step up to the plate. I challenge them to do as Nick Clegg has done and sign up to the Silk Commission's recommendations - so that Wales can speak as one voice Wales must have a proper parliament. One that reflects the will of the people. One that has the powers to make a difference. One that shows that devolution really can work
She added that it was important to offer people hope after the divisions caused by the Scottish independence referendum. It was important that the right lesson was learnt from the result in Scotland.
The referendum must be a lesson that people across the UK want more of a say over their future. We must show that change is coming. Independence can't be their only option. The SNP, Plaid Cymru, UKIP - we can't let them divide us. Devolving power is in our DNA - it's what we do. The Liberal Democrats must now take back the devolution agenda.
The Welsh Lib Dems are now the only party talking to the Welsh Government about a deal to support the budget. Their leader, Kirsty Willaims, says that following Plaid Cymru's decision to quit the negotiations over the £1 billion Newport motorway announcement says she'll keep negotiating but the plan for the M4 makes it "difficult".
The Welsh Liberal Democrat priority for the next budget continues to be extra support for Wales’ poorest school children through our Pupil Premium. However, it’s very difficult to see how we can support a budget that prioritises the current M4 proposals and that is what we will explain to the Welsh Government in future negotiations.
The M4 announcement yesterday was a huge mistake. It completely flies in the face of the environmental and economic issues. Our proposed alternatives are far less expensive and less likely to damage vast swathes of the environment. A responsible Government wouldn’t spend its entire borrowing powers on one single road, leaving no money left for other transport projects.
The Welsh Liberal Democrat leader, Kirsty Williams, says the First Minister must sack the Natural Resources Minister Alun Davies following his breach of the ministerial code. Mr Davies apologised to the Assembly yesterday but continues in his cabinet rôle.
Opposition parties have joined together to force a debate both on the minister's conduct and on the First Minister's handling of the affair. For more details click here. The parties are also calling for the creation of an independent adjudicator of the ministerial code.
The Welsh Lib Dem leader, Kirsty Williams, says it's now a matter of trust:
Alun Davies should have done the honourable thing and resigned. As that hasn’t happened, the First Minister must take swift action to remove him from his position.
It is simply not right that the First Minister is judge, jury and executioner of his own and his Ministers’ behaviour. How can people have trust in the Welsh Government when Ministers have been found to have broken Government rules but allowed to continue in their job?
The Welsh Liberal Democrats have led the calls for years now for there to be an independent adjudicator of the Ministerial Code. The debate put forward by the opposition parties is the next step in our long running campaign to get the Welsh Government to finally do the right thing. The current system is simply not fit for purpose.
The Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, Kirsty Williams, has described the First Minister's decision not to sack the Natural Resources minister Alun Davies as 'indefensible.' She's also demanded that the inquiry into the minister be made public.
The First Minister’s decision is indefensible. How can you admit that someone has broken the rules but then refuse to punish them? This begs the question of what even is the point of the Ministerial Code?
Time and time again this Minister has failed to conduct his duties properly. A committee found him ‘evasive’ and not on top of his brief, he undermined the democratic process by desperately using an Emergency Bill and now he has been found to have broken the Ministerial Code.
It seems the competence of a Labour Minister is completely irrelevant to whether they can continue in their position.The First Minister dithered on his decision and has now completely failed in his duty to hold his Minister to account. This is a bad day for the National Assembly.
This shows precisely the problems with the current system. Because there is no official system in place, the Welsh Labour Government can do as it chooses and protect one of its own even whilst admitting its Minister has broken the rules.
It is inconceivable for the First Minister not to make the Permanent Secretary’s report public and he must do so today.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats have been calling for reform of the Ministerial Code for many years now. This sorry episode once again shows why an independent advisor is needed on the Ministerial code.
Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams has joined calls for the publication of a report into claims that a Welsh cabinet member broke the ministerial code. A spokesperson for the First Minister has said he's considering the Permanent Secretary's report into allegations against Alun Davies.
But Kirsty Williams says that report must be published in full and the way such allegations are investigated should be changed in future.
The events surrounding the actions of the Minister clearly show the need to change the way that the conduct of Welsh Ministers is monitored. It’s completely inappropriate for the First Minister to be in charge of investigating his own Cabinet.
An independent body needs to be set up to oversee the Ministerial Code, and to investigate any breaches of it. The First Minister has had plenty of chances to act, but yet another Welsh Labour Ministerial scandal is passing by without a change to the system.
It has been two weeks since the First Minister ordered an investigation, but we are still waiting to hear the outcome. The First Minister doesn’t seem to understand just how serious this matter is.
This report must be published immediately, and the First Minister must make himself accountable to Assembly Members without delay. If the First Minister insists on being judge, jury and executioner over the conduct of his Ministers then he should be dealing with this in an open and transparent way.
Nothing less than a full publication of the report and a statement in the Chamber will do.
In the Senedd, Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams has called for a specific anti-extremism strategy for Wales following the revelations that two Cardiff men appeared in an Iraqi Islamist recruitment video. Kirsty Williams said:
Last year, the UK Government set up the Tackling Extremism and Radicalisation Task Force to look into the issue. While this is welcome, this should be backed by a specific Welsh anti-extremism strategy to ensure that our communities remains safe.
People will of course be very worried and upset that men who have grown up here in Wales have resorted to joining extreme and dangerous groups. Not only do we need to remember that these men are very much in a minority, but we must also look at the potential causes that have led them to take these drastic measures.