The History of our Local Party

The Brecon, Radnor and Cwm-Tawe Liberal Democrats have a long and proud history across the two historic counties it represents.

Breconshire was represented by Liberal MPs William Fuller-Maitland, Charles Morley and Sidney Robinson from 1875 – 1918 while Radnorshire was also sporadically represented by the Liberal politicians Sir Richard Green-Price and Frank Edwards in the same period.

Following the First World War, Brecon and Radnorshire was combined into a single constituency and again represented by Liberal politician Sidney Robinson from 1918 to 1922 and then William Jenkins.

In 1985, the Liberal Party won a famous by-election victory reclaiming the seat for the Party under Richard Livsey who represented Brecon & Radnorshire in Parliament from 1987-1992 and 1997-2001. Richard Livsey also severed as leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats from 1988-1992 and again from 1997 to 2001. After his retirement as an MP in 2001 he became a life peer in the House of Lords with the title Baron Livsey of Talgarth until he passed away in 2010.

Following Richard Livsey’s retirement, Roger Williams retained the seat for the Liberal Democrats and served as the Constituency’s MP from 2001-2015. Roger Williams served  as Shadow Welsh Secretary in the Liberal Democrat Frontbench Team in the 2005-10 Parliament. 

Roger was a passionate supporter for improving road safety, standing up for local farmers and protecting in-person banking.

In 1999, following the creation of the then National Assembly for Wales, Kirsty Williams was elected to represent Brecon and Radnorshire in Cardiff Bay. Kirsty went on to become one of the most highly regarded and respected politicians in the Senedd. Kirsty served as Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats from 2008 to 2016 and also as Education Minister for Wales from 2016 to 2021. During her time as Education Minister she helped to steer Wales through the COVID-19 Pandemic and introduced the new and progressive National Curriculum for Wales.

During her time as an Assembly Member Kirsty also passed the Safe Staffing Levels Act for nurses in Wales a landmark piece of legislation which improved patient safety and working conditions across hospitals in Wales.

She also negotiated with Labour to secure the Welsh Pupil Premium: an extra £20m to spend on the education of the poorest pupils, later also securing a doubling in funding for the programme.

Lib Dem logo bird projected on blockwork
Both Richard Livsey and Kirsty Williams were heavily involved in the campaign for devolution
Both Richard Livsey and Kirsty Williams were heavily involved with the campaign for devolution

During the period of 2011 – 2016, Brecon and Radnorshire residents were also represented by William Powell who as well as being a Councillor for Talgarth served as the Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for Mid & West Wales, covering all of Powys, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and part of Gwynedd.

In 2019, Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds repeated Richard Livsey's success in when she reclaimed Parliamentary seat for the Liberal Democrats in a sensational by-election win which sent ripples across the UK and cost Boris Johnson his majority at the time.

Jane Dodds was then elected to the Senedd in 2021 and has since represented people in Brecon and Radnorshire through the list seat of Mid & West Wales.

Jane has already delivered key policy wins through negotiations with the Welsh Government, including £20 million to support children coming out of care, increased mental health funding for young people and protecting the pupil premium budget.

In 2022, the Liberal Democrats made history in Powys, coming from third place to beat the Conservative and Independent coalition and take control of Powys County Council, marking the first time in Powys Councils history that it has been led by a political party.

As we move closer to the next General Election, David Chadwick is seeking to take the seat back for the Liberal Democrats and defeat the incumbent Conservative MP, building on the long-list of Liberal representatives in our history.

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