Roger Williams seals Powys County Council return

By Twm Owen in Local People

FORMER MP Roger Williams has won a seat on Powys County Council two years after he was booted from office.

The Liberal Democrat had represented Brecon and Radnorshire in Parliament for 14 years before losing his seat at the 2015 general election to the Conservatives.

But Mr Williams, who was a Powys councillor when he was first elected as an MP in the 2001 general election, today won his Felin Fach ward, near Brecon, with 377 votes.

The newly elected councillor said: "Obviously I’m very pleased with the result and I really enjoyed the campaign and I’d like to thank all the candidates who conducted a good, straightforward campaign and the people of Felin Fach have enjoyed being part of the democratic process."

The former MP is one of 13 Lib Dem councillors on the new Powys council, four more than they won at the 2012 elections. Defections and by-elections took the Lib Dems up to 11 making them the largest political party on the council before the election.

However they’ve now lost that prize to the Conservatives who now hold 19 seats on the council.

In Brecon and Radnorshire the Lib Dems won 10 seats, three gains on the seven they held, while the Conservatives won five seats. The constituency will be a key Lib Dem target at June’s general election.

Mr Williams admitted he would have liked to have seen the Lib Dems return more of the 25 candidates they stood and predicted the general election campaign will be tightly fought in Brecon and Radnorshire.

The former MP has already ruled himself out as a potential Lib Dem candidate and the party has yet to announce who it will pick to challenge Tory Chris Davies.

In response to today’s results Mr Williams said: "I’m very pleased we’ve ended up with more Liberal Democrat councillors and they are of a very high standard and I will enjoy working with them.

"It is disappointing (not to have won more seats) but we are where we are and we’re all committed to playing our part in improving Powys’ delivery of vital services."

Mr Williams, who’d been his party’s shadow Welsh secretary and also a farming spokesman, said he expects some differences to his previous time at County Hall.

"Obviously it’s a lot more political and I hope that will give the council more focus and structure.

"But I hope the politics will be used in a positive way to improve the services delivered."