Welsh Liberal Democrat members to have say on next leader

Layla Moran and Ed Davey Image copyright PA Media/ BBC Image caption Candidates Sir Ed Davey and Layla Moran both praised Wales’ Education Minister Kirsty Williams, the parties only MS

The Liberal Democrats will hold a virtual meeting with its members in Wales on Saturday to help decide the next leader of the party.

MPs Sir Ed Davey and Layla Moran are the two candidates, with results to be announced on 27 August.

The Liberal Democrats lost their only Welsh MP at the last General Election and the party only has one Senedd seat.

That is held by Member of the Senedd (MS) for Brecon and Radnorshire Kirsty Williams, the education minister.

The hustings will be held online and available for all to watch, although only Welsh Liberal Democrat members will be allowed to submit questions to the candidates.

Senedd elections ‘a top priority’

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Sir Ed says he would provide a vision “based around the green economy” if he was to become leader

Having served as deputy leader under Jo Swinson, Sir Ed Davey has been one of the party’s acting leaders since Ms Swinson stepped down after losing her Commons seat in December.

Speaking to BBC Wales ahead of the hustings, Sir Ed said his “vision is based around a greener economy, a fairer society and a more caring country”.

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He added that next May’s Senedd elections would be a “top priority” for his leadership as he predicted gains for the party on the back of Kirsty Williams’s “amazing record” in government.

“She’s shown what Liberal Democrats can do… we’ve shown we can be trusted with the future of our children and indeed the future of Wales,” he said.

Image caption Kirsty Williams’s “amazing record” as Wales education minister shows the party can be trusted with “the future of our children”, says Sir Ed

Asked if he was worried about being associated with the Lib Dems’ poor General Election performance given his senior position at the time, the Kingston and Surbiton MP said he hoped members in Wales would recognise he commissioned a review into the party’s election strategy “which pulled no punches”.

The party’s campaign was based on stopping Brexit, and while Sir Ed said the Liberal Democrats would remain “pro-European” with him as leader, he also hopes to show voters the party is not “a one trick pony”.

“We’ve also got these very strong messages on green jobs for young people, reviving the Welsh economy and the UK economy by ensuring we’re investing in the future,” he explained, pointing to his support for tidal lagoons around Wales and the Welsh aerospace industry.

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