Lib Dems lost compass in coalition says Welsh leader

Kirsty Williams says she wants to 'reset the dial' for the Liberal Democrats

The leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats is expected to admit that her party struggled to keep its values 'unscathed' during five years in coalition with the Conservatives.

In her first major speech since the Lib Dems lost all but eight MPs in its worst-ever election defeat, Kirsty Williams is expected to say that she feels 'a strong sense of liberation' since becoming 'free from the shackles of coalition.'

She'll say that she's proud of many of her party's achievements in government, but that she wants to 'draw a line under the last five years.'

And she has an urgent need to try to reverse the dramatic decline in Lib Dem support: her party faces a desperate fight for survival in next year's Welsh election with polls showing that the Liberal Democrats could find themselves with just two Assembly members after May 2016.

In the speech organised by the public affairs firm, Deryn, Kirsty Williams is expected to say:

This is the first of a series of speeches the Welsh Lib Dem leader will make in the run up to next year's election campaign.

I understand that she's decided that she has to deal publicly and openly with internal and external criticism of the party's time in coalition if she is to stand any chance of getting her election messages heard.

Lib Dem sources are promising plain-speaking from Kirsty Williams to try to achieve just that.