The Liberal Democrats are in a desperate fight for survival according to Tim Farron. The former Lib Dem president is campaigning to become leader of the party in the wake of its disastrous showing at the general election.
On his website Farron said: “This is a critical moment for our party. The General Election was won by the politics of fear. We suffered a heavy defeat. Now we face the fight of our life: to prove we are relevant to people across the country, to show them what we believe and why we matter. We have to be clear about the values that set us apart.”
Later he appeared on Sky News to warn that “Britain’s liberal force is under threat” although he claimed 11,000 people had joined the party in the last week to try to save it.
Mr Farron went on to say: “I think what I am saying is there are thousands and thousands of people in this country who clearly woke up on the Friday and thought ‘goodness me, we’re not losing the liberals, we’re not losing the Liberal Democrats’, and that’s why I’m standing for the leadership – because I believe that this party not only can be saved but it must be saved.”
He continued: “We know there is no God-given right for us to survive as a party or come back, but there is plenty of precedent for us to work from to make sure we have that comeback. And we’re going to do it by building infrastructure and campaigning, having a kind of bloody-minded self-belief that we are going to recover and inspiring people to join us and step up to the mark.
“We know that we have fallen an awful long way short of where we want to be but absolutely Britain needs a liberal voice now more than it ever has, and I am determined that, fuelled by a sense of desire for justice, a belief in the rightness of our cause, I can inspire us to come back to the centre of British politics.”
There are so few MPs that Farron is able to jump the first hurdle of the leadership contest by nominating himself: thus securing more than 10 percent on the Parliamentary Party’s support. After that he needs 200 party members from at least 20 different constituency branches.