Opinion: Why I am standing to be Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats

We  made the right choice to go into coalition – although I have to say that it took me a few days to come to terms with it!

Our choice to go in to coalition is in the national interests, I am standing for Deputy Leader because I’m determined that it should also be in the Lib Dems’ interests too.

The role of the Deputy Leader will be quite different now that we are sharing power. There will be a role in Parliament, but it will be all the more important out in the country and in the TV and radio studios. My wish is to be a loyal deputy to Nick and a critical friend of the coalition. The danger is clear that we will face elections next year where our message might not get through because we are in coalition. My job would be to articulate our different values and our distinctive position and to do so clearly in language that strikes home.

The Party’s voice must be heard as being distinct from the coalition. We aren’t going to be asking people to vote for the Coalition Party – and voters must be clear as to why voting Liberal Democrat matters, why we are an attractive and inspiring independent force.

I have no desire to see the Lib Dems become Britain’s answer to the FDP – a third party that exists to be the junior partner in  a series of coalitions. I want us to win elections in our own right.  My ambition is for a Liberal Britain, for a strong, radical party and to inspire people to join in that vision.

As Deputy Leader I would ensure that we had the infrastructure to continue to campaign and to do media and policy development, independently from the coalition. I would be never off your TVs and I would say things that make you proud to be a Liberal Democrat, I would fight to retain our principled stands on issues such as Local Income Tax, tuition fees and Trident, while being joined at the hip to the leader. I will be an authentic, different and radical voice for the Liberal Democrats, but a reliable and loyal one too.

Finally, I’m aware that despite 99.2% name recognition in the Lake District, I’m a bit less well known nationally… but I promise to remedy this quickly!

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Tim, who are the 0.8% of Lake Districters who don’t know who you are? Have they been stuck up Scarfell for the last five years?

  • Tony Shelton 28th May '10 - 9:46am

    Best wishes for your campaign. South Lakeland’s champion (and election winner) deserves a bigger stage…

  • This is excellent news, I think Tim would make an outstanding Deputy Leader – articulate, principled, and above all, fun.

    And I like his pledge to be a “critical friend of the coalition” – just what’s needed right now.

  • Grumpy Old Man 28th May '10 - 9:59am

    Dear Mr, Farron.
    “Our choice to go in to coalition is in the national interests, I am standing for Deputy Leader because I’m determined that it should also be in the Lib Dems’ interests too.
    Why should the LibDems interests be different to, or diverge from, the National Interest? Are you in fact suggesting that while the coalition is a compromise of agreement over ends, The LibDems believe in different means?
    As a Conservative, I want you to become a strong center-left but non-scientific socialist party electable as a government in your own right, because this would reduce Labour to a third party of protest and free the country of the tyranny of marxism. I would also suggest that the responsibilities of governing the Nation may well cause you to amend your principles in the light of that experience, and may it may be best to keep both the principles somewhat less than immutable and the methods of putting them into practice under constant revue.

    i wish you and your fellow LibDems the very best in your effot to make the LibDems electable. (except, of course, in my constituency.)

  • Tim Farron has all the qualities to be party leader in the future but this vote is a chance for the party to redeem itself and prove that the ‘new politics’ is not just about middle-aged white males.


  • Perhaps LDV ought to offer a “green text” option …

  • @Grumpy – What is a non-scientific Socialist part?

  • @Grumpy Old Man

    It was in the national interest to have a strong, durable government and, on my opinion, to have a government which would put liberal policies into practice. We are already seeing this with, for example, the cessation of detention for the children of asylum seekers and I hope to see more in the future. However, there is a danger that being in coalition will result in the Liberal Democrats losing our distinctive identity in the country at large. The media are already viewing “the government” as a general unit and so will have a Liberal Democrat or a Conservative, suggesting that we are one and the same. We aren’t. There are Lib Dem / Tory coalitions in councils all over the UK and there are Lib Dem Labour coalitions in councils all over the UK. We were previously in coalition with Labour in the Scottish Parliament. A coalition is not a merger and it would be a disaster for the Liberal Democrats if that were not properly communicated. That’s what Tim, or whoever else it is, needs to deal with.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 28th May '10 - 10:58am

    “So far, Tim Farron is the only declared candidate, but most people in the party would bank on Simon Hughes emerging as the victor. (Mr Farron is a bright young man with a long future ahead of him; his candidacy may be more about a future leadership bid than anything else.)”

  • Regarding the 0.8% in the Lake District who have no idea who Tim is, can I help to make up the slack by being a fan of his from the south coast? (smile).

    @Andrea, yes I would like to know what a “non-scientific socialist” is, I wonder if GOM means non-athiest, since he clearly has a big problem with Marxism?

  • If I had a vote, it would be for you Tim.

    A lefty loyalist – my kind a guy

  • We do indeed need to do protect our independent identity and to grow our party membership especially amongst the young who were drawn to our message at the election. If that means an almost parallel existence both within coalition and outside – developing our party identity and organisation, then a deputy leader can be the authentic voice to represent the latter.

    Good to use such ambitious language as ‘to win elections in our own right’. The biggest missed opportunity at the election was that we failed to capitalise upon the Nick surge to introduce our ‘cabinet of talent on standby’.

  • Alan Beddow 29th May '10 - 1:18am

    Go Tim !!! I have always liked what you have to say at conference and the energy and enthusiasm you use to say it. I think you would be a fantastic deputy.

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