Mike German made working peer in House of Lords

Mike German Ex- Welsh Lib Dem leader Mike German is "thrilled" at his peerage

Former leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Mike German has been made a peer and his replacement as an assembly member will be his wife, Veronica.

The new Lord, an AM since the assembly began in 1999, said he will leave for the Lords as soon as practicable.

He said his wife, a local councillor, will become the new AM for South East Wales, as she is next on the party's regional list.

His successor as party leader, Kirsty Williams, welcomed the peerage.

Ms Williams said: "I am very proud that Mike German has been selected to represent the Welsh Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords.

"Mike has dedicated his life to serving others, first as a teacher and then a committed and hardworking councillor, assembly member and leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats.

Mike German and wife Veronica Watkins pictured at their wedding in 2006. Photo: Betina Skovbro Mike German is handing over his AM role to his wife as he goes to the Lords

"He will be an immense asset, as a working peer, to the Liberal Democrats and to Wales in the House of Lords and his departure from our group here will be greatly felt."

Mike German joins a list of senior politicians including former deputy PM John Prescott and former Conservative leader Michael Howard awarded peerages in the dissolution honours.

Among them the former veterans minister and MP for Islwyn, Don Touhig also gets a peerage and First Minister Carwyn Jones is appointed to the Privy Council.

Mr German was deputy minister of the Welsh assembly when his party was in coalition with Labour. He became an AM at the start of the assembly in 1999.

He said he was now looking forward to becoming a working peer at Westminster.

He said he was "thrilled" when Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg asked him about the honour "many months ago".

"There is a real sense of excitement at the challenges and opportunities for my party, and I am grateful to be given this chance to be at the heart of the action in parliament," he said.

Strong relationship

"Now at this very exciting period in British politics, it will be a great privilege to be helping put Liberal Democrat policies into action," he added.

The new peer said he would do all he can to support the work of the assembly in parliament.

"This includes the transfer of powers and functions to Wales and supporting a strong relationship between London and Cardiff," he said.

Mrs German has been a Torfaen councillor since 2008 and is leader of the Lib Dem group at the local authority.

She also works in her husband's constituency office. The couple married in 2006.

Mrs Williams said she was looking forward to welcoming Mrs German, in her new role as a Lib Dem AM.

He said: "I know that Veronica is already dedicated to serving the people of Torfaen and now she will have the opportunity to fight the corner of her region in the National Assembly for Wales."

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