William Powell (Welsh politician)

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William Powell
William Powell - National Assembly for Wales.jpg
Member of the Welsh Assembly
for Mid and West Wales
In office
May 2011 – May 2016
Preceded by Nick Bourne (Conservative)
Succeeded by Neil Hamilton (UKIP)
Personal details
Nationality British
Political party Welsh Liberal Democrats
Alma mater Pembroke College, Oxford

William "Bill" Powell is a Liberal Democrat politician and was a member of the National Assembly of Wales between 2011 and 2016.


Powell attended Talgarth Community Primary School and Gwernyfed High School, gaining a scholarship to read Modern Languages (French and German) at Pembroke College, Oxford.[citation needed] He is a qualified teacher and has taught French and German at a number of schools in Wales and the Marches. Latterly, William was Head of German at Hereford Sixth Form College, where he was also the European Officer.[citation needed]

In 1998 he was awarded County Winner of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society Agri-Environment Award.[citation needed]

Powell has consistently attended the annual Cilmeri commemoration to mark the last battle of Prince Llywelyn.[1][2]

He now lives with his family on their farm in the Black Mountains near Talgarth, Powys, where his ancestors have farmed since the 18th Century.[citation needed]

Political career[edit]

William represented Talgarth ward on Powys County Council since 2004 and has been active in rural regeneration projects, including the restoration of Talgarth Mill, of which he is a founder Director. He is also a Member of the FUW, a Governor of Talgarth CP School and Gwernyfed High School. He is also a member of the Lloyd George Society, where he serves on the Committee. He is a former member of the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority.

For many years William has been one of the central figures in the European Movement in Wales.[citation needed] He was a founding Board Member of Wales in Europe and is an active Member of Wales Council European Movement, which he chaired for over a decade. In addition, he is a Council Member of the European Liberal Democrats (ALDE) which includes Liberal sister-parties from across Europe. In 1999 he stood for the pro European Conservatives in the European election in Wales but joined the Liberal Democrats shortly afterwards.

He was elected as the first Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for the Mid and West Wales region in the elections in May 2011.[3] Following the election he was Welsh Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Environment, Sustainable Development and Rural Affairs.

Within the Assembly, William was Chair of the Petitions Committee[4] throughout the 4th Assembly and a member for the Environment and Sustainability Committee.[5] He represented the Welsh Liberal Democrats in the National Assembly on both the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly (BIPA). William was also Chair of the Cross Party Group on Europe.

As Chair of the Assembly’s Petitions Committee, he has been central to a number of successful petitions, including one on term-time school holidays,[6] one calling for the construction of a second Dyfi bridge[7] and a further one which successfully resulted in the reinstatement of the Diabetes Reference Group for Powys.[8]

In January 2014, the BBC[9] and Western Mail [10] reported that Powell had been given a formal warning by the Liberal Democrats for inappropriate behaviour towards a young female party activist.

In July 2014,[11] Powell hit out at Alun Davies AM for seeking to gain personal information on him and four other Assembly Members, Andrew RT Davies, Llyr Huws Gruffydd, Kirsty Williams and Antoinette Sandbach, regarding EU farming subsidies received by their respective family businesses. Alun Davies believed this caused a conflict of interest, however the Minister’s actions led directly to his sacking by First Minister Carwyn Jones and Alun Davies subsequently issued a personal apology to all AMs involved regarding EU farming subsidies received by their respective family businesses.[12]

In 2015 Powell was shortlisted for the Wales Green Energy Awards in recognition for his support for renewable energy throughout his time as an Assembly Member. He spoke about the topic during Plenary sessions, and worked with energy companies to try and advance their case, whilst at the same time ensuring that the communities and businesses he represents have their voices heard.[citation needed]

Powell lost his Welsh Assembly seat in 2016 to UKIP.


Offices held[edit]

National Assembly for Wales
Preceded by
Nick Bourne
Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales
Succeeded by
Neil Hamilton