Page last updated at 10:42 GMT, Friday, 17 April 2009 11:42 UK

Lib Dems targeting second place

Nick Clegg meets Katherine Hicks, from Taffs Well
Nick Clegg meets Katherine Hicks, from Taffs Well and her baby Dyfan, aged 12 weeks during a hospital visit in Cardiff

The Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg says he is "determined" to push Labour into third place at the European elections in June.

Speaking to BBC Radio Wales ahead of the party's Welsh conference, Mr Clegg said his party was answering a call for "something different in politics".

He is to attend a question and answer session with the party's Welsh leader Kirsty Williams later on Friday.

The conference runs on Saturday and Sunday at the Angel Hotel in Cardiff.

Mr Clegg will join Ms Williams on a visit to meet staff caring for sick and premature babies at the neonatal unit of the University Hospital of Wales.

They will later join the question and answer event to discuss 'The Future of Liberalism in Wales'.

We were the only voice in British politics saying look we can't carry on like this...
Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg

"Everything that we offer as a party is answering that call for something different in politics so we can do things a lot better than we have done until now," Mr Clegg told the BBC's Good Morning Wales programme.

"We were the only party, not just a few months ago, but several years ago, in fact we were the only voice in British politics saying look we can't carry on like this, the banks are lending money that they shouldn't, they're doing that irresponsibly, and the housing market is just spiralling out of control."

"One of the reasons why so many families in Wales are finding it difficult to make ends meet, worried about keeping their job, maybe they've lost their job, worried about if their homes are going to be repossessed, is because we didn't take the actions that we've been recommending for a very very long time."

Mr Clegg said he was determined to come second in the European elections around the UK, following last year's local elections when the party pushed Labour into third place.

In Wales, the Liberal Democrats gained an extra 21 councillors, but remained the party with the fewest overall number.

Kirsty Williams
This will be Kirsty Williams first conference since becoming leader

The BBC's Welsh affairs editor Vaughan Roderick said a lot of people in Wales would go along with the party's policies and philosophy.

"The trouble is they've got a cuckoo in the nest occupying their political space and that's Plaid Cymru.

"Kirsty Williams - perhaps in a way no Welsh Liberal Democrat leader had before - has determined she's going to take the fight to Plaid Cymru, but that's not easy and it's not something that can be resolved any time soon."

But Mr Clegg said: "I think Plaid has been immensely disappointing in not living up to what it used to say, is that it would try and hand power down.

"It's very odd it seems to me for a party in Plaid that believes in devolution that it can't seem to devolve decision making power from Cardiff down to the people who really count."

This conference will be the first attended by Ms Williams since she became leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats in December 2008.

The assembly member for Brecon and Radnorshire became Wales' first female party leader when she replaced Mike German.

She will give her speech at the conference on Saturday afternoon.

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