Sir Ed Davey skids onto the campaign trail in Wales in latest stunt

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey skidded onto the campaign trail on Wednesday in his latest campaign stunt.

Sir Ed joined Welsh politicians in Knighton, a town on the border with England, to launch the party’s campaign in Wales.

He skidded down the High Street hill on a bike, followed by Jane Dodds, the leader of the Welsh Lib Dems and David Chadwick, the party’s candidate for the area, to cheering supporters.

Unlike his visit to Lake Windermere, Sir Ed managed to stay upright on the bike, having repeatedly fallen into the water while on a paddleboard.

The Brecon, Radnor and Cwm Tawe seat – which has been newly created for the 2024 election – covers Knighton, and is a key battleground for the party.

If the Lib Dems manage to take the constituency, it will be the party’s first in Wales since 2019.

They are hoping to take the seat from the Conservatives, who have held the seat since Jane Dodds lost the seat at the 2019 election to Fay Jones.

General Election campaign 2024
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey during a visit to Knighton (Jacob King/PA)

He said: “Families across Wales are working hard, they are looking after their families, loved ones, they’re playing by the rules.

“But they’re finding it increasingly hard to make ends meet.”

He said people have been hit by the cost-of-living crisis, with rising energy bills and mortgages up, with him blaming the Conservatives for “adding to that pain”.

Sir Ed also argued the Conservative government has let farmers down “badly”, using the event to announce the party’s farming policies.

The Lib Dems are promising  £1 billion in extra funding for the agriculture budget, and pledging to re-negotiate overseas trade deals and address worker shortages blighting the sector if it wins the General Election.

Speaking to the PA news agency, Sir Ed said he was confident the party could make gains in Wales, arguing that locals felt betrayed both by the Tories and Welsh Labour.

“We’re increasingly feeling confident in this seat,” he said.

“Montgomeryshire and Glyndwr is another rural Mid Wales seat which we have run before and we have got a great young candidate there, so watch this space.”

General Election campaign 2024
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey, Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Jane Dodds and local candidate David Chadwick (Jacob King/PA)

“Welsh Labour has let them down, that’s why they’ve got no chance in rural communities,” he said.

“But where the trade deals are set (is in) Westminster, they’re not devolved, issues around seasonal worker visas, we need a champion for Welsh farmers here in Brecon, Radnor and Cwm Tawe and David Chadwick can be that champion.”

He insisted trade deals, such as those with Europe and Australia, could be reopened if there was a government in power determined to do so.

He said: “The Conservative government have failed farmers and failed the whole country to be honest, with their shockingly bad trade deals.

“They have actually made it more difficult to export, more difficult to import, the Tories are now the champions of red tape.”

Speaking about his repeated falls into Lake Windemere on Tuesday, Sir Ed said it was “good fun” but had a serious message about sewage spills.

He promised further “great fun and serious” political stunts along the campaign trail but said he did not want to spoil what they would be.

He said: “I’ve ridden a bike before, I hadn’t really properly done a paddleboard, so I was able to stay on.

“People love cycling, it’s really good for health, and you can come to wonderful Mid Wales and enjoy leisure.”

General Election campaign 2024
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey speaking to Welsh supporters in Knighton (Jacob King/PA)

“I think it’s how voters feel about that, to be honest,” he said.

“And I think voters want a better choice and I don’t think they’re impressed by the choice of Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer they want to hear other voices.

“I would urge the large media companies to extend that invitation.”

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