Tim Farron announces he is running to replace Nick Clegg as leader of the Liberal Democrats

Farron says 'hundreds and hundreds' have urged him to run

Click to follow
Indy Politics

The Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron has announced he will run to replace Nick Clegg as the party leader.

Declaring his intention to go for the position on the BBC's Today programme, he said that he had been urged to do so by "hundreds and hundreds of party members" in the past few days.

"My message to them is if they are up for the fightback I will step forward and put myself forward to be the next leader of the Liberal Democrats," he said.

Mr Farron is the firm favourite among bookmakers to follow Mr Clegg, who stepped down in the wake of a disastrous general election result that saw the number of Lib Dem MPs diminished from almost 50 to eight.

Nick Clegg, Leader of the Liberal Democrats delivers a statement of his resignation at the ICA on 8 May 2015 in London, England.

In his last Today programme appearance, Mr Farron repeatedly referred to the party as “the Liberals” rather than the Lib Dems, prompting speculation that he might be planning a change of name.

On Thursday he admitted that “rebranding ourselves, repositioning ourselves is very important”, but added that he has no plans for that to include a name change.

He said: “We've got to be absolutely radical about that but 18 months of a constitutional wrangle as we Tipp-Ex out a couple of words and add in another one in the constitution strikes me as a bit of a waste of time.”

Mr Farron said the party fully accepts “the drubbing we got”, but said: “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’.

“There's quite a silver lining to our dark cloud – 11,500 new members makes us the fastest and biggest growing political force in Britain.”