WELSHPOOL RESIDENT Jane Dodds, has been elected to lead the Welsh Liberal Democrats back from the wilderness.

The partty announced this morning that she had received 53.1 per cent of the members vote.

Her opponent Elizabeth Evans from Aberaeron received 46.9 per cent and the turn out was 35.1 per cent.

She takes over the role from Acting Leader Kirsty Williams AM.

Jane Dodds, said:  "It is an honour to have been elected as the next leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats - to focus my energy on bringing like minded people together to rebuild our party and to re-establish the Welsh Liberal Democrats as the radical, progressive force of Welsh politics.

"I'd like to thank Liz Evans for running an excellent campaign and giving members a vital opportunity to discuss our next steps as a party.

I”'d also like to pay tribute to Mark Williams and Kirsty Williams for their unwavering commitment to our party.

"Wales needs the Welsh Liberal Democrats now more than ever.

“Wales needs the progressive, pragmatic, and reforming voice of Welsh Liberal Democrats in the Assembly and in Westminster to give us an exit from Brexit, a fresh look on creating more and better paid jobs, protecting our environment, and delivering on Kirsty Williams' education reforms.

"We have been down, but we aren't out, and I'm confident of what lies ahead for my party."

Kirsty Williams AM, Welsh Liberal Democrat Cabinet Secretary for Education said:

"The Welsh Liberal Democrat membership had two fantastic candidates to choose between. Two proud Welsh women with long records of standing up for their communities.

Jane Dodds has twice stood in general elections and failed to beat Montgomeryshire’s Tory MP, Glyn Davies.

As the Lib Dems have been virtually wiped out in Wales with no MP’s and only one AM, changes were made to allow members who had been chosen to stand in Parliamentary or Assembly seats to vie for the leadership.