A week in politics is a long time – and less than a week after This Writer’s friend and Labour candidate for Brecon and Radnorshire, Alex Thomas, lost to Kirsty Williams, I find myself writing in praise of her.
Don’t get me wrong – Ms Williams fought a dirty campaign that was about running down the Conservative candidate and begging for votes from supporters of other parties to make sure he didn’t get in.
As it turned out, she need not have bothered because the choice of ‘Marmite’ Gary Price, a county councillor who has been an Independent several times, along with a candidate for Plaid Cymru at the last Assembly elections and now a Tory, drove normally-Tory voters away. He lost the Conservatives nearly 2,000 votes in comparison to the 2011 election.
But I’m not praising Ms Williams on her election victory – I’m praising her because it turns out she actually has principles. Credit where it’s due.
The Welsh Assembly voted on who should become First Minister today. The choice was between current FM Carwyn Jones, who had 28 Labour Assembly Members behind him, or Plaid Cymru’s Leanne Wood, who had 29 AMs supporting her, from Plaid, the Conservatives and UKIP.
So the result fell on the shoulders of the single remaining Liberal Democrat in the Assembly. She decided – well, here’s her comment from the BBC News story:
Commenting on her decision to back Mr Jones, Ms Williams said: “I was not re-elected into the National Assembly to support a ragtag coalition made up of UKIP assembly members who at the moment can’t even agree with each other.
“That is not my politics and not something I will even contemplate.
“I am disappointed that Plaid seem to think that is a viable option.
“The reality that we have to face is that Labour have 29 assembly members.
“It is therefore clear that they have the strongest mandate from the people of Wales.”
Result: Deadlock. They’ll all have to come back again later and try to find another way.
Ms Williams’s decision reflects that of Nick Clegg after the 2010 Parliamentary election. While it has been suggested that Clegg would have supported the Tories in any event, due to an alleged backroom deal in March 2010, the stated reason was always that the Tories had more MPs than anyone else.
I see with amusement that she has also noted the style of politics practised by UKIP.
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