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Last Updated: Friday, 9 March 2007, 21:48 GMT
Lib Dems' 'giveaway' accusations
By Adrian Browne
BBC Wales political reporter

Kirsty Williams AM
Kirsty Williams will promise more than a dozen laws in the manifesto
The Liberal Democrats have opened their spring conference in Swansea by accusing their opponents of adopting "happy meal politics".

AM Kirsty Williams attacked the other parties for offering free giveaways in the assembly elections campaign rather than substantial plans for Wales.

She claimed that Labour, Plaid and the Tories were offering politics that do not "fill you up".

The other parties deny putting forward insubstantial policies.

Plaid Cymru is promoting laptop computers for 11-year-olds, the Conservatives want to offer low energy light bulbs and Labour is extolling the expansion of its free breakfast scheme for primary schools.

Healthier, greener and fairer
Kirsty Williams AM on Wales under the Liberal Democrats

Speaking at the conference's opening rally on Friday, Ms Williams, AM for Brecon and Radnorshire, promised the Welsh Liberal Democrat manifesto would put forward more than a dozen laws.

The audience of Liberal Democrat supporters nodded in approval as she told them that the party had, so far, put forward more policies than any other in the run up to the Welsh general election.

One of those listening to Ms Williams' speech was the leader of the Liberal Democrats, Sir Menzies Campbell.

Ms Williams added that other parties were obsessed with freebies and what she labelled "happy meal politics - a free toy with every vote".

"It's not free - they're paying for it with our money, our taxes," she said.

"You know the trouble with happy meal politics? It doesn't fill you up, because there's no substance to it."

laptop computers
The Lib Dems will not be offering free computer laptops

She said the party wanted to stretch the Welsh assembly's new powers "to make Wales better - healthier, greener and fairer".

The other parties have strongly defended their campaigns.

The Conservatives said giving people low energy light bulbs was one step towards saving energy and that there would be plenty more policies announced by polling day.

Labour said the take-up of free breakfasts was increasing and helping children's concentration in class.

Plaid Cymru said it had a costed agenda that would make a real difference to communities across Wales.

In the same rally, Lib Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell continued to stress his "absolute" commitment to proportional representation.

He added however, that the door would be left open for Mike German to negotiate this traditional Lib Dem policy in Wales.




SEE ALSO
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