Leader of Welsh Lib Dems Jane Dodds MS delivers keynote speech to spring party conference

2 Mar 2024
Jane Dodds speech

This coming weekend (2nd to the 3rd of March) the Welsh Liberal Democrats will be meeting in Cardiff for their annual Spring conference.

On the Saturday afternoon, party leader Jane Dodds MS is expected to use her keynote speech to attack the Labour party under Keir Starmer for their “empty rhetoric” and for “dancing to the tune set by the Conservatives”. Whilst also describing the current UK Conservative government as “one of the most unpopular governments in living memory”.

Jane will also be using her speech to criticise the Welsh Government for their mishandling of the NHS and their indifference towards the agricultural sector in Wales.

She will also be commenting on the ongoing Gaza and Ukraine conflicts, reiterating her hopes for a peaceful resolution to both.

Jane’s Key message

“I want to share a quote with you that, I hope, will bring my thoughts together

to balance the despair I think many of us feel, with my desire to offer a more hopeful, brighter outlook on what we could achieve.

And that is -

“A revolutionary moment in the world's history is a time for revolutions, not for patching.”


What I hope for our country, but how people across the country need hope that a brighter future is ahead of us.

That we can create a more generous society, where each of us can get ahead.

That we can carve out a fair deal for everyone.


If we want a generous, fair, and prosperous Wales we need a government that has economic prosperity and our communities at its heart.

A fair deal for the small business owner.

A fair deal for individuals and their communities.

A fair deal for the planet.

Making better use of investment to support businesses to grow.

Making better use of technology to export goods and to share ideas.

Investing in better tools to help businesses to start, grow, and move to Wales. Where government works hand in hand with public services, business, and entrepreneurs to create opportunities.

Opportunities not just to grow our economy or make our economy more productive for the sake of it, but so we can

invest in our country.

invest in our people."


Attack on Labour party

"But what about Labour.

What about them?

In the face of one of the most unpopular governments in living memory, their success is predicated on nothing more than an unpopular Conservative government.

Rather than giving people hope of tangible change; it’s empty rhetoric.

It’s just patching.

Just look at what they’ve rolled back on in recent weeks and months.

Labour under Kier Starmer dancing to the tune set by the Conservatives – abandoning ideas.


And Labour’s plan in Westminster?

To continue with the Tories’ public spending plans.

The same plans that are suffocating our public services and pushing our economy to the brink.

Health policy based on little more than headlines.

Dancing to the tune of the Tories.

Out of ideas.

Failing to give people hope."


Criticism of Welsh Government

"Labour in Cardiff Bay are falling back on nothing more than empty rhetoric – lacking in ideas.


Labour’s response to despair in the agriculture community? Indifference.

Labour’s response to the crisis in our NHS? Blame someone else.

Labour’s response to our struggling economy? Our hands are tied.

Either they’re out of ideas or they’re playing an irresponsible political game ahead of the next election.

And we see through it - the public will see through it.


And the ideas of our next First Minister to fix the crisis in our NHS?

“continue to prioritise”

“make further progress”

“build on the work”

I’m not sure about any of you, but I get no sense of urgency.

The urgency needed to resolve pay disputes.

The urgency needed to stop dentists closing their doors.

The urgency to get the more than half a million people waiting to start treatment in front of a specialist.

The urgency to hit the targets this government set and has failed to meet year after year after year.


Labour have no idea what they’re doing on the economy in Wales.

So whether it’s the NHS, the economy, or poverty, Labour are out of time, and out of ideas."


Gaza/Ukraine conflicts and resolution

"I want to take this opportunity to reflect on the horrific scenes in Gaza and in Ukraine.

We urgently need a ceasefire in Gaza.

A ceasefire to allow the delivery of aid, to release hostages, and to provide the space needed to intensify diplomatic efforts -moving us towards a two-state solution and lasting peace.

The recent fallout in parliament was irresponsible and a missed opportunity.

It was an opportunity to build a consensus on what Britain as a nation could say about the conflict and the route to lasting peace.

An opportunity missed.

But, for Gaza and Ukraine, we have to remain hopeful that we can achieve a lasting peace in Gaza and success for Ukraine.

I’m proud that the Liberal Democrats have remained absolute in our position on the conflict we’ve seen.

I’m proud of the compassionate leadership that Ed Davey and Layla Moran have shown in Parliament, and I extend our thanks to them for their leadership."


Port Talbot

"Now, the news that Tata Steel would shed 3,000 jobs was a huge shock to all of us.

The steelworks in Port Talbot have shaped the landscape and lives of people in and around Port Talbot for more than half a century.

Despite signalling in 2016 that there was an uncertain future for the plant, neither the Conservatives nor Labour acted to put in place an industrial strategy to propel Port Talbot, and our economy, into a successful future.

The steelworks puts £200m a year into the economy in salaries alone and just a few years ago was valued at more than £3.2bn to the Welsh economy.

And yet Labour and Conservative Ministers seem to have waited to act.

Where they could have acted, they could have done more, they chose not to.

Why is it that we’re yet to see any real industrial strategy that grasps at the opportunities, and thinks long term about the future of our country and our economy?

Let’s put industry ahead with a laser focus on our future through a Future Industries Programme.

Working with industry leaders, working with communities, we could transform Welsh industry and provide opportunities for communities across the country.

Rather than waiting for Government in Cardiff Bay to act, let’s give industry the tools, the leadership to help shape a modern Welsh economy."


Call to voters

"At the next general election, ask yourself

Who can you trust to put your community first?

Who can you trust to have their eye on your community, not on Westminster?

Because at the next election, you can vote for a fair deal.

You can vote for a more generous society.

You can vote for a fairer way of doing politics.

Where everyone has control of their own destiny and future and the powerful are held to account.

You can vote for a party that believes in a country that’s generous, prosperous, fair.

A successful economy.

A thriving planet.

A fair society.

You can vote for the Welsh Liberal Democrats.

Kick the Tories out of number 10.

Demand better.

Demand a fair deal.”