Friday, 28 May 2010

Farron to run for Deputy Leader

One of my "four to follow" has intimated he intends to run for the vacant position of party Deputy Leader - Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland & Lonsdale.

The media favourite still seems to be Simon Hughes but Tim has some of the qualities needed in a Deputy Leader. Personable, straightforward and a confident speaker, Tim also has the advantage of being young and one of "tomorrow's people". He's only been an MP since 2005 but in that time has managed to turn a previously Conservative marginal into a seat with a comfortable Lib Dem majority of 12,000.

Admittedly, having a good agent and a local Conservative opposition in total disarray do not necessarily indicate Deputy Leader material. But I'm very pleased that Tim has put his name forward (on his 40th birthday, no less) and that's not just because my in-laws live in his constituency. His candidacy shown the depth of quality that exists within our parliamentary party, and he is a man who not only has a vision for the party's future, but respects its past and connects well with its grassroots.

Tim told BBC News that he believed it was the "right decision" to enter into coalition, "but it is also vital that the independence, radicalism and distinctiveness of the Liberal Democrats are maintained." Most Lib Dem members would agree that the party needs a Deputy Leader with such an outlook.

Having said that, I would still prefer Jo Swinson for the reasons I gave in my previous post. But I am looking forward to a contest which, unlike Labour's leadership election, will not be being fought by dinosoars of the past but by forward-looking liberal progressives.

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