Liberal Democrats pay tribute after former AM Mick Bates, 74, dies 'with cancer'

The Welsh Liberal Democrats described Mick Bates as a "tireless campaigner" who was "decades ahead of his time on the need to tackle climate change". Credit: Welsh Liberal Democrats

Tributes have been paid to former Welsh politician Mick Bates, who has died at the age of 74.

Mr Bates represented Montgomeryshire for the Liberal Democrats in the Senedd. The party announced on Monday (29 August) that he had passed away "following a battle with cancer".

Mr Bates became an AM, as they were known then, in the first Welsh Assembly elections in 1999 and remained in position until 2011.

In 2010, Bates was convicted of three counts of common assault and public disorder, after punching a paramedic while drunk. He subsequently resigned from the Welsh Lib Dems and completed the rest of his time in office as an independent within the Assembly.

Prior to his life as an AM, Mr Bates was a teacher, farmer and Lib Dem County Councillor.

As a County Councillor, he started a community regeneration scheme as Chairman of the Llanfair Town Forum, which successfully obtained Market Towns Initiative status.

He also produced and presented the Radio Maldwyn farming programme and organised a scheme for students to visit farms.

The Lib Dems described him as "a tireless campaigner for rural communities" who was "decades ahead of his time on the need to tackle climate change".

The party added: "While a Member of the Welsh Assembly, Mick campaigned for extra money for rural schools helping establish a small schools fund and fought for better infrastructure in Mid Wales having been a major driving force behind getting the Newtown Bypass built."

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said: “Mick was one of the most welcoming and kindest people I knew.

"When I first arrived in Welshpool nearly ten years ago, he was so generous with his time with me.

"His knowledge of the issues affecting his beloved Montgomeryshire was endless. He was one of a kind - there will never be another Mick Bates.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Buddug, his children Ruth and Daniel, his five wonderful grandchildren alongside with the rest of his family and friends.”

Another politician who paid tribute to the late AM was his successor and the current MS for Montgomeryshire, Russell George. The Welsh Conservative remembered Mr Bates as "a family man and much more".

He said he "was a man fill of energy and enthusiasm" and added that his thoughts were with Mr Bates' family.

Former AM William Powell also tweeted to say Mr Bates was a "generous, kind and passionate" man "who stuck to his principles and genuinely worked hard to represent his beloved Montgomeryshire".