Tag Archives: tim farron

Farron on HIGNFY: Live blog

Tim Farron on HIGNFY It’s almost 9pm and time for this week’s hotly awaited Have I got News for You. Have you got your popcorn and glass of wine ready? We’re about to be off…

So Tim’s on Paul’s team..

If you are only just seeing this now and haven’t watched the programme, you can do so here on iPlayer.

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Tim Farron on Have I Got News for You: 9pm tonight, BBC1

And it looks like it’s going to be a good one. Laurabee was in the audience and this is what she had to say on Twitter:

And there’s more:

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Farron welcomes gay blood ban review

Tim Farron has welcomed a review in the rules for blood donation which currently stop gay men from giving blood within a year of being sexually active.

He said:

I very much welcome the review of what I believe are the discriminatory rules on blood donation in the UK. In 2015 I cannot see why we can’t support an evidence based approach.

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LibLink: Tim Farron: Join drive for new kindertransport to save refugee children from Syria

Tim Farron has written a moving, compassionate and persuasive article for Jewish News in which he calls for an initiative to help bring Syrian refugee children to safety in the same way as Jewish children under threat from the Nazis were brought to Britain in the 1930s.

In 2014, of the 13,000 unaccompanied children who were registered in Italy alone, 4,000 of them went missing. Refugee and migrant children in these circumstances are incredibly vulnerable, and there is a real risk that these missing children were subject to trafficking, forced labour and exploitation. Europe cannot continue to let this happen. If the UK government will step up and accept just 3,000 of these children, who have been processed by UNHCR and have been confirmed as having no identifiable family, then we can go on to press the rest of Europe, and indeed the world’s, governments to do the same.

Every politician in this country is agreed the Kindertransport, which brought over unaccompanied Jewish children from Germany in 1938, was the right thing to do. Now we need a new Kindertransport to save another group of vulnerable children, and send a clear signal of the renewal of the British values of which we are so proud.

He started off by wondering what it would take for him to leave his life and all he knows to seek refuge in a strange place:

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Tim Farron questions Cameron on Syria

Here’s the exchange between Tim Farron and David Cameron from today’s debate on Syria. Tim asked about safe havens to protect the innocent civilians who are trapped there and about the role of other countries in the region in helping the forces on the ground. It was a civilised exchange. The Prime Minister was on his best behaviour today.

I thank the Prime Minister for his statement and for early sight of it. There are understandable knee-jerk reactions on both sides to the horror of Paris and of Beirut. There will be those who say, “Intervene”; those who say, “Intervene at all costs”; and also those who say, “Do not intervene no matter what the evidence points to.” The Prime Minister knows that the Liberal Democrats have set out five criteria against which we can judge this statement. On that basis, may I press him on two particular points? The Prime Minister recognises that air strikes alone will not defeat ISIL. He has already heard that he will need to give much more evidence to this House to convince it that the ground operations that are there are sufficient and have the capability and the credibility to deliver on the ground, which is what he knows needs to be delivered. What role will Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and the other Gulf states play in delivering this victory, if that is the direction in which we choose to go as a country and as a House? There is also a reference to humanitarian aid in this statement. He will know that no amount of aid can help an innocent family dodge a bomb. There is no reference in this statement to establishing no-bomb zones or safe havens to protect innocent civilians if this action takes place. Will he answer that question?

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Tim Farron’s response to the Autumn Statement

Tim Farron writes:

This was a deeply political budget from a deeply political Chancellor.  It looks good in the theatrics of the Commons, with Labour divided, weak and inept, but the budget will unravel.

It will unravel in schools next year when they see funding slashed; it will unravel when local councils have to cut services and increase taxes just to get by; and it will unravel when projects can’t be built because of the skills shortage caused by the attack on further education.

The brighter outlook has given Osborne room for manoeuvre, yet he continues an ideological crusade to slash spending and

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And now for something completely different – Tim Farron is normal


The Telegraph Travel section has interviewed Tim Farron about his holidays in their Celebrity Travel spot.

He reveals some distinctly non-celebrity holiday behaviour:

My wife, kids and I tend to have one foreign holiday a year, either in France or Spain – this year we spent two weeks in Andalusia – to get a bit of sun and spend some time together as a family. Most recently, I spent a few days on the Isle of Arran with my family during the half-term break.

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Your thoughts on Osborne’s Autumn Statement


Before George Osborne steps up to the dispatch box today we already know which Government departments will be protected from the cuts and which will have to take the brunt. The Tories have pledged to protect the NHS, education, defence, pensions and foreign aid, so that leaves vulnerable the police, local government (and just think of the huge number of services they provide), social care, further education (apparently not considered ‘real’ education), renewable energy and, of course, welfare.

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Liblink: Tim Farron on the five things Lib Dems want to see in the Spending Review


Tim Farron has been writing today in the Huffington Post.

The simple fact is that nearly half of the cuts George Osborne will make aren’t necessary to get spending under control. Instead that are motivated by an ideological drive to shrink the state. That’s a big departure from the decisions Liberal Democrats took in Coalition.

He outlines the five things that he would like to see in the review:

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Tim Farron MP writes: We need a holistic approach to eliminate domestic violence once and for all

Today is the Comprehensive Spending Review and all eyes will be on The Chancellor. However, it is also the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, marking an issue that affects all of us in the UK and across the globe.

Here in the UK domestic violence continues to be a horrific, often hidden scar on our society. Websites such as Counting Dead Women are a terrible reminder of the human cost of violence against women. Figures show that one in four women will suffer domestic abuse in their lifetime and two women are killed by partners each week. It is incomprehensible to me that more isn’t being done to eliminate this abhorrent crime.

We need to make sure that women feel they can speak out and get the help they need so they aren’t left trapped in their own homes. Women’s Aid have said that on average a woman will have suffered 35 separate incidents of domestic violence before going to the police. We need to ask ourselves why.

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Farron’s five tests to secure Lib Dem support for UK action in Syria

Falling on David Cameron’s desk this afternoon is a letter signed by all current and living former leaders of the Liberal Democrats in which they outline the five key tests the Government must pass in order to secure the party’s support for airstrkes in Syria.

Here is the letter in full:

In advance of your statement outlining your plan for military intervention against ISIL in Syria, we are writing to outline the criteria against which we will judge our response to your proposals.

As you will know our party has maintained a consistent position that airstrikes alone will not defeat ISIL in Syria. Deployment of lethal force should never be used simply as a gesture. It has to have effect, and to have effect it has to be part of a wider strategy, especially on the diplomatic front.

We are encouraged by the fact that the Government has at last decided to explain the details of that strategy and look forward to hearing what this is.

The five conditions below give the UK the best chance at having an effective strategy to counter ISIL and make serious progress in ending the Syrian civil war. We call on you to embed them into your plans before they are brought to the House of Commons on Thursday.

These conditions are:

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Farron on Defence Review: We need more flexible forces and better co-ordination with Europe

Tim Farron has been commenting on the Strategic Defence Review. He said:

Only this government could create a ‘rapid reaction force’ and will take 10 years to react.

The Government’s Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) has some good points, especially the new maritime patrol boats and extra frigates.

The world is more dangerous and uncertain since the last SDSR and that is why we need more flexible forces and greater coordination with allies in Europe. For all the Prime Minister’s bluster, that piece of the jigsaw is sadly missing.

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Tim Farron responds to UN resolution

Tim Farron has commented on the passing of the UN Resolution 2249, which had the UN Security Council recognise that

Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Da’esh), constitutes a global and unprecedented threat to international peace and security,

Tim said:

I warmly welcome United Nations Security Council Resolution 2249. The fact that Russia did not use its veto is an important first step towards creating the broad coalition that the Liberal Democrats have been calling for as the only effective context for considering proposals for military action.

The UK should now use all its diplomatic skills to support the efforts being made in Vienna to assemble an anti-ISIL coalition including Russia, Turkey, Iran and other key states in the region.

At the same time, the Prime Minister must address the questions raised in the Foreign Affairs Committee Report when he presents to parliament the long-term strategy for any military action in Syria. That must include the planning for post-ISIL Syria, which has so far been absent amid the calls for UK planes to be engaged in strikes.

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Tim Farron to go on Have I Got News for You

Way back in June, Tim Farron said, in his Commons tribute to Charles Kennedy:

Charles was successful because he was himself. If any hon. Member is ever invited on to “Have I Got News For You”, my advice is, “Say no, unless you want to be made out to be a prat or unless you are Charles Kennedy.”

But a quick glance down his Twitter feed reveals that he’s going on the show himself, “in a couple of weeks.”

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A Liberal Democrat Economy Group

Tim’s talking about the economy. And it’s great.

With George Osborne building an economy to benefit big business and Mr Corbyn swerving Labour towards “big state” nationalisations, there’s a clear big gap for the Liberal Democrats to be the Party of Britain’s creative talents, home-grown entrepreneurs and innovators, the self-employed and small business owners.

But we need to go further.

It’s increasingly urgent that Lib Dems present a distinctive economic agenda to underpin our social and liberal plans.

So the Party needs a new (possibly unofficial) Liberal Democrat group to raise awareness and to promote what the Liberal Economy means.

(That is a group about the Liberal Economy to be quite distinct from “Economic Liberals”, or for that matter Social Liberals, accepting input from either side or neither.)

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Tim Farron’s full speech on the economy: the radical gems that weren’t in the extracts

In days of yore, 6 months ago, if the Liberal Democrat leader made a keynote speech on the economy, the journos would be there in force. While there was a bit of coverage on the Guardian and BBC, it was nowhere like it used to be. So, I guess that means it’s up to us, and by us I mean all Liberal Democrats, to get the word out. The first section of this piece has some commentary on the speech and the full text is at the bottom.

The trails sent out last night in my opinion missed out the best bits of the speech. The whole thing covered a huge amount of ground from entrepreneurship to mass migration to climate change to inter-generational fairness to massive investment in infrastructure to housing. There were also some key elements that weren’t there quite as strongly as I’d have liked, for example on the living wage and tackling poverty and inequality. He spoke of these things in his Beveridge Lecture to the Social Liberal Forum two years ago.

He cast the Liberal Democrats as the party of small business, innovation and creativity, while the Conservatives were the party of corporatism:

The fact is that the Tories aren’t really pro-free market capitalism at all.  They are pro-corporate capitalism.

They are there to fight not for entrepreneurs, not for innovators who oil the wheels of the market, but for the status quo.

In recent years, a common criticism of the Liberal Democrats is that we have been way too establishment. Tim Farron sets out that we are no such thing, likening us to entrepreneurs as the insurgents:

So I say “let the Tories be the Party of huge complacent corporations”

The Liberal Democrats will be the Party of Small Business, the party of wealth creators, the insurgents, the entrepreneurs.

And there’s a good section about challenging power, government or corporate:

We are in politics for precisely the opposite reasons to the Tories: to challenge orthodoxy and challenge those with power, while they support orthodoxy and established power – in business, just as in politics.

Because here is the truth – it doesn’t matter if it is big government or big business, the fact remains, too much power in the hands of too few people means a bad deal for everyone else.

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Invest in infrastructure, back enterprise and think long term: key principles in Tim Farron’s first major speech on the economy

In just over an hour’s time, Tim Farron makes his first major speech on the economy at the IPPR in London. We’ll have coverage of the whole thing later, but here are the key principles he’s setting out. He also sets out a challenge to Labour to support the Liberal Democrats in stopping the cuts to tax credits, not just putting in transitional relief which would do nothing to help new claimants on low pay.  I suspect that the stuff on venture capitalism shows the influence of Susan Kramer and her professional knowledge in the field.

Here are some of the key points he will make:

The Liberal Democrat economic principles

So today I intend to set out the three principles that will govern Liberal Democrat economic policy for the next five years. They are:

Invest now in infrastructure
Back enterprise
Take the long view

It’s a clear prospectus – just ten words – but it sums up very simply where we need to take this country and how my vision for the future differs from those of George Osborne and Jeremy Corbyn.

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Votes at 16 LibLink Special: Tim Farron: If you are old enough to fight, you are old enough to vote

Ahead of the crucial Lords vote this afternoon, Tim Farron has written for the Telegraph about why giving 16 and 17 year olds the vote in the EU Referendum is so important:

He points out the logical flaws in the Government’s stance:

It is striking that the same people who argue people that generations of Brits “haven’t had a say” on the EU are now opposed to giving 16 year olds the right to vote. They seem to want democracy, but only the kind they like – or think will get the result they want.

Sixteen and seventeen year olds will have to live with the consequences of this huge decision for many years to come and to not give them a say, is simply, anti-democratic. This is why I support increasing the franchise.

He highlights the success of the Scottish precedent:

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Tim Farron MP writes…Come and help Jane Brophy in Oldham West and Royton

Tim Farron & Jane Brophy OldhamThis party has given me so much. I joined as a 16 year old and it has given me lifelong friends and an extended family.

Today I am asking a favour from you. I hope you know me well enough to know that I only do that when it matters. I am asking for your help to support my good friend Jane Brophy and our Oldham West & Royton campaign.

I was there a couple of weeks ago to launch the campaign and to be honest you will struggle to keep me away! Our MPs and virtually all of our peers will be going too to support Jane. So I am asking you to help her too.

The energy of the campaign was brilliant. It was great!

We are campaigning on our record – the only party that actually opposed tax credits, fought the welfare changes and is standing up for small business and entrepreneurship. We have a strong message. We just need to sell it.

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+++Breaking: Tim Farron calls on Chris Rennard to step down from the Federal Executive

Tim Farron has issued the following statement calling on Chris Rennard to step down from the Federal Executive position to which he was elected by Liberal Democrat Lords last week:

As you know, Chris Rennard’s election to the Federal Executive has prompted party members to call for a Special Conference.

I have not spoken out until now as I have been giving Chris time to reflect on the party’s reaction to his election.

I have decided it is time to make clear publicly that I do not believe it is in the interests of the party for Chris to take up his position on the FE.

Chris was entitled to stand for election and the Lords were entitled to elect him. That does not mean his decision to put himself forward was in the best interests of the party.

Helena Morrissey’s review threw the spotlight on our party’s culture and working practices. We have made major changes to the constitution and to the rules we use to apply its values.

For example, we have ensured that for instances of alleged discrimination, bullying, harassment or intimidation, we now operate to the standards you would expect in most modern workplaces.

However, I also believe that the call for a Special Conference shows we still have some way to go to convince our members that the party’s culture has changed.

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What Twitter tells us about Welsh Liberal Democrat Conference

The Welsh Liberal Democrats met in Swansea for their Autumn Conference yesterday. Here are some of the highlights from Twitter.

Like the Scottish Kickstart which also took place yesterday, the event opened with a minute’s silence for the victims of the Paris atrocities.

Sal Brinton also mentioned the events in Paris in her speech:

Was some awkward squad rebellion going on?

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Farron: The Northern Powerhouse is a sham

Tim Farron has been in Yorkshire twice this week. He spoke at Yorkshire and the Humber (note, the name of the region is right this time) Liberal Democrat conference on Saturday and he was back for the Annual Dinner in Greg Mulholland’s seat on Wednesday.

While he was there, he spoke to the Yorkshire Post and was not impressed by the Conservative’s model of devolution:

One of the reasons the northern powerhouse is a sham and a failure is because this Government are now so obsessed with making sure that we reduce the size of the state that we are therefore not investing in the rail services that we need, in the housing that we need, the green energy we need, the broadband we need.

“Whilst the Labour Party is completely wrong-footed, completely in denial that the deficit needs to be reduced, cleared and to balance the books, George Osborne is mistaking the need to make sure you balance the books on your day to day expenditure with having to at the same time not invest in capital expenditure.

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Three reasons why you should go to Oldham West for your own good

Tim Farron went and opened Jane Brophy’s campaign HQ in Oldham West and Royton today and, as is the way with these things, was surrounded by lots of colourful diamonds:

I would strongly recommend that if you can get over to Oldham between now and the by-election on 3rd December, you do – for your own benefit as much as any help to the campaign. Yes, Jane Brophy is a fantastic candidate, a brilliant social liberal who really knows how to serve her community, and of course we want to support Tim Farron in the first by-election of his leadership, but there is a veritable cornucopia of good things that we can get for ourselves too. Here are just three.

Feel the Lib Dem Buzz

Once you’ve felt the vibe of a Lib Dem by-election hq, you will never want to miss another one. It’s great fun, you meet people from all over the country whom you wouldn’t necessarily meet at Conference and it’s actually good for the soul. My first by-election was Littleborough and Saddleworth (which is the neighbouring seat to what is now Oldham West) back in 1995. I met people there who are friends to this day. We only went to help for a day and then go on to have a bit of a touring holiday but we ended up staying for the whole week and went back for several weekends and the last week because we were having such a good time.

People have even met their partners at by-elections. I was particularly proud at playing “Cilla” during the Livingston by-election to a couple who celebrated their seventh wedding anniversary last week.

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In Full: Tim Farron’s speech to Yorkshire Liberal Democrat Conference

Tim Farron has been busy today. Not only has he been opening our campaign headquarters in Oldham West and Royton (of which more later), but he’s been at the Yorkshire and the Humber Liberal Democrats’ Regional Conference in York. The core speech is not really knew – what he’s delivering as he goes round the regional conference is what they would call in The West Wing “Modified Stump”. Anyway, enjoy.

Here is his speech which is pretty much in full. You can’t make this guy stick to a script – and one thing in particular is how the joke changes as he goes round the country about who comes to the report sessions at Federal Conference. In today’s version he singled out Jennie Rigg along with former LDV co-editor Mark Pack.

Thank you, it’s a massive pleasure to be here – despite the inherent risk for a Lancastrian in crossing the Penines.

Then again, I’m told that York was actually on the side of the Lancastrians in the War of the Roses so I’m sure I’m amongst friends.

What’s more, there one thing that will always unite both sides of the Pennines and that’s discrimination from Westminster against the North!

It’s absurd that it takes me over an hour longer to make the 100mile journey here from my constituency in Cumbria than it would to travel the 200 miles from London. So let me start with a pledge: we need to be absolutely solid in demanding better transport links across the north of England and the early electrification of the cross-Pennine route.

That’s not just self-interest: if this government’s rhetoric about northern powerhouses is to mean anything then it’s time to put up or shut up and that means some real solid investment to enable the north to come together and really take on London and the south east – I mean in a spirit of friendly rivallry of course and we Yorkists and Lancastrians know all about that don’t we?

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Tim Farron warns against Syria vote

Warning against a parliamentary vote on UK air strikes against Islamic State militants in Syria, Tim Farron has commented:

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LibLink: Tim Farron Why we must stop the Tories hitting the most vulnerable

Tim Farron has shown great self discipline. In an article for the Mirror about this week’s tax credits showdown in the Lords, he turns his fire, rightly, on the Tories. He only slips in one sly dig at Labour:

Sadly Labour wouldn’t support our move to scrap the cuts altogether, but we joined with them to force a delay.

It isn’t ideal, but it is a chance to tell the government it should improve its plans.

If Labour wouldn’t support the move when they are led by a proper leftie, you wonder if they ever would.

Tim looks at why these tax credit cuts are so bad:

These cuts to tax credits hit people exclusively on low pay .

People who are doing the right thing- who are working- but in low paid work.

People who find themselves having to plan their spending carefully- who get to the end of the month and are having to watch where every penny goes.

These are simply the wrong people for the Conservatives to be taking money from.

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Farron: Lib Dems will resist Snoopers’ Charter

GCHQ Bude by Paul WalterIt looks like the Tories’ Snoopers’ Charter to be unveiled this week will be the blinged-up version, with even more sweeping powers than they tried to introduce before. Tim Farron told the Independent that the Liberal Democrats would oppose it just like we did in Government:

Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat leader, signalled that he would be prepared to muster his 112-strong bloc of peers to oppose measures which undermined individual liberty. “We would use all parliamentary tools available to us to ensure any proposed legislation is properly scrutinised,” he told The Independent.

“Liberal Democrats will always support proportionate measures to increase our security, but we must not allow cornerstone civil liberties to be swept away. We will wait with interest to see the detail of the draft Bill, as the Tories have long argued for powers that are not targeted and not proportionate. We blocked the ‘snooper’s charter’ in government and would strongly resist any attempt to bring it back.

“It would be a dramatic shift in the relationship between the state and the individual and fundamentally strikes the wrong balance between liberty and security.”

Back in 2012, Nick Clegg almost agreed to this but after interventions, one by angry bloggers who understood the technicalities in a Conference call with a special adviser, he pulled back. Instead, a draft bill was tabled and subjected to scrutiny by a committee made-up of representatives from both Houses of Parliament, including our Julian Huppert. They rejected the plan and you can read their report here. They determined:

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Swinson and Farron speak out against online abuse after threats sent to Labour MP Jess Phillips

The internet can be a torrid place, as we all know. If you’re a woman, especially one who dares express an opinion that doesn’t sit well with a very small minority of men, you are likely to get a particularly brutal form of abuse, usually coupled with threats of sexual violence.

When Labour MP Jess Phillips reacted with incredulity to Tory Phillip Davies’ request for a debate on International Men’s Day, she was subjected to some awful abuse. You know it’s bad when one of the milder things written was an observation that seeing her spirit die would be a rewarding experience. Who could possibly think that that was ok to say to anyone about anything?

Buzzfeed UK has the full story including the full tweet. They are pretty stomach turning.

It’s important to realise that women have to put up with this sort of nonsense every day. Yes, men get abuse too, but there is a gendered aspect that is chilling. A few years ago, I wrote about how demeaning it felt when a man sat next to me on a flight reading his lad’s mag with photos of very scantily clad women. I suggested that this might be something that they should not be doing in the public space and was told that I deserved to be raped, like brutal sexual violence was an acceptable reaction to disagreeing with someone.

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How does Tim’s poll rating compare with previous leaders?

With Tim’s Liberal Democrats being such a reduced force since the election, one might have expected such reductions – and proportional reductions in media coverage – to have affected his ability to make himself known in the one steady, solid indicator of such measures – the monthly Ipsos MORI leadership poll.

Ipsos MORI’s coverage of the question “Is X doing a good job of leader of Y” stretches right back to the second year of David Steel and thus covers the first months of Tim’s immediate predecessors – Paddy, Charles, Ming and Nick.

In his first month, with 22% of the public seeing Tim as doing a ‘good job’ he will be pleased to note that this placed him level pegging with Ming’s first month – and slightly higher than that of Charles, and a whole 7% ahead of either Paddy or Nick. The downside for Tim is that he has a much higher ‘disapproval rate’ (29%) than any of his predecessors, with Paddy being the closest at 19%. The overall score for Tim’s first month was a -7%, which was slightly lower than Paddy’s -4% and Nick’s -3%, but far lower than Ming’s +5% and Charles’ +11%.

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Farron: Ministry of Justice need to be “dragged into 21st century” over Tara Hudson

Tim Farron has intervened in the case of Tara Hudson, the transgender woman from Bath who has been sent to serve a 12 week prison sentence at an all male prison because, basically, of some paperwork. She’s never applied for a Gender Recognition Certificate, but she has lived as a woman for all of her adult life.

Tim expressed his fears for Tara’s safety to Pink News. He said:

The Liberal Democrats will raise this case in Parliament.

There is a clear need for a policy change in this area. It looks like the Ministry of Justice needs be dragged kicking into the 21st century.

As I understand it, Tara has lived all her adult life as a female. I worry potential risk of harm to her in a male prison which was deemed to have levels of violence ‘considerably higher than in similar prisons’ by the prisons inspectorate.

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