Wales politics

Lib Dem minister makes a difference, says Tim Farron

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Media captionTim Farron claims power is a 'dirty word' for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has defended Kirsty Williams for joining the Labour-run Welsh Government.

He said she could "make a difference", ensuring Tory policies for England were not implemented in Wales.

Mr Farron, who is at the Lib Dem conference in Brighton, accused Labour at Westminster of "turning away" from power, and claimed the Conservatives were "taking Wales for granted".

He urged moderates within the larger parties to back the Lib Dems.

Mr Farron claimed that despite the disappointment of losing four of their five Welsh Assembly seats in May, there had been a "massive improvement" in the Lib Dems' fortunes since.

'Space to fill'

"You've got a [UK] Conservative government now taking Wales for granted because you've a Labour opposition that doesn't seem to want to be in opposition, never mind an alternative government," he told BBC Wales.

"Given that is the case, the space for the Liberal Democrats to be the opposition to the Conservative government is vast - and we shall fill it."

As for the party's role in Wales, Mr Farron said: "Kirsty Williams taking the education ministerial position gives her the opportunity to make sure that we don't go down the narrow, selective route that England is going, to make sure that you have a pupil premium, that early years is promoted.

"For Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party power seems to be a dirty word," he added.

"If you can't make a difference for the people who elected you then you let them down.

"That's why the Liberal Democrats are different, that's why many people - moderate Labour people - are coming to the Liberal Democrats now."

Mr Farron also praised Ceredigion MP Mark Williams as an "outstanding" leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, having taken over when Kirsty Williams stepped down from the role after the assembly election.

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