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Welsh Lib Dems agree to rainbow coalition

2007 Mai 26 12:00 AM
Rodney Berman

Cllr. Rodney Berman proposed the "All-Wales Accord" at the Welsh Liberal Democrat special conference

A special conference of Welsh Liberal Democrats today endorsed the All Wales Accord, paving the way for the party to implement more than 100 of their policies in to action in the Assembly.

The Accord document - jointly drawn up with Plaid Cymru and the Conservative Party - seemed to have hit the buffers earlier in the week after a split vote of the National Executive Committee left it in limbo. However grassroots members, including the leaders of the four Welsh Lib Dem led councils in Wales, called a special conference to give the wider party a say on the document.

Rodney Berman, leader of Cardiff Council, said he had called the conference to ensure all party members had their say on whether there could be an alternative to Labour rule in Wales.

He told conference: "I didn?t get involved in politics to watch other people make decisions. I want to see Liberal Democrat values in action."

In his speech Assembly leader Mike German said: "Welsh Liberal Democrat Conference is always at its best when we can debate. This is the only party in Wales which has real debates. We express different views. We vote. We work together to turn votes in to action.

"I joined this party to deliver Welsh Liberal Democrat policies for the people of Wales. Three in every four policies in the All Wales Accord are our policies.

"Turning our backs on this historic opportunity will be bad for the Welsh Liberal Democrats. But it will be worse for Wales. Wales will have lost the opportunity for a fresh start.

"If you want the Liberal Democrats to be a significant force in Wales, vote yes.

"If you want to fulfil our promise about stable government, vote yes.

"If you want a powerful programme that can be delivered for the people of Wales, vote yes.

"Be brave. Be bold. Be Welsh Liberal Democrats. Back the motion."

Speaking after the three and a half hour debate, President Rob Humphreys praised the quality of the debate.

He said: "What we saw today was an excellent and thoughtful debate. We are proud to be a democratic party - that is our great strength - and it has been demonstrated clearly today.

"We debate, we vote, we move on together. Our Assembly Group is now in a position of considerable influence - I know they will use it wisely."