Education Minister Kirsty Williams MS to stand down at next Senedd election

The Welsh Liberal Democrat has served as the member of Brecon and Radnorshire for 22 years. Credit: PA Images

Welsh Liberal Democrat MS Kirsty Williams has announced after 'careful consideration' that she will stand down at next year’s Senedd election.

Kirsty Williams MS has been front and centre of decision-making during the coronavirus pandemic, having to order the closure of schools back in March and most recently reversing the decision to award teacher-assessed grades for A-level and GCSE students.

The Welsh Liberal Democrat has served as the member for Brecon and Radnorshire since 1999, served as Chair of the Health Committee in the first Assembly from 1999-2003, as leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats from 2008 until 2016 and has been the Welsh Government’s Education Minister since her appointment in 2016.

The politician was also the first female leader of a Welsh political party - the Welsh Liberal Democrats.

The politician said there was 'sadness' behind her decision, 'with a sense of achievement and pride.' Credit: PA Images

Kirsty Williams MS said: “After a great deal of thought and reflection, I have decided not to stand as a candidate at the next Senedd election.

“There is, of course, sadness in making this decision, but also with a sense of achievementand pride.

“I am looking forward to spending more time with my family and I remain committed to myrole in Brecon and Radnorshire and look forward to continuing to campaign with mysuccessor to ensure Brecon and Radnorshire returns a Welsh Liberal Democrat voice.”

Paula Yates, President of the Welsh Liberal Democrats said: “Kirsty has been an exceptional constituency champion for Brecon and Radnorshire for the last 21 years. There isn’t a street or village where someone doesn’t know someone who’s been personally helped by Kirsty over the years.”

Kirsty Williams MS was the first female leader of a Welsh political party. Credit: PA Images

In a letter confirming that she will stand down at the next Senedd election, Kirsty Williams MS said: "Next May it will have been 22 years since I was first elected to represent the people of Brecon and Radnorshire...The local party, and then the constituency, placed its trust in me – a young, female, Welsh Liberal Democrat, new to elected politics and for our new parliament.

"It remains the proudest day of my political career. And for us to keep winning and keep achieving for our community, has been the honour of my life...

"I know that my pride in being the first female leader of a Welsh political party was shared locally and nationally, and I hope it was a small inspiration to others. Working with my party colleagues in the Senedd, we worked diligently to hold the Government to account.

"It has been an immense honour to serve my country as Education Minister. Every day I have been inspired and uplifted by the shared commitment across the country to be ambitious for all our learners."

Kirsty Williams MS became the Welsh Government's Education Minister in 2016. Credit: PA Images

Mark Drakeford MS, First Minister of Wales said: “Kirsty’s decision not to stand for re-election in May will leave an enormous hole – not just in the Welsh Government but in the Senedd and in Welsh political life.

“I am so glad her final term as a Senedd Member has been spent as a Minister and as amember of the Welsh Government.

“She was a formidable politician in opposition but she has demonstrated her real strengthhas been in putting into practice the progressive policies for which she has long argued.

“We must make the most of her talents while she is still in government, because we will miss her greatly when she moves on to new challenges and possibilities. Pob lwc, of course, with all that lies ahead.”