The Liberal Democrats must comprehensively reinvent themselves, ditching Edwardian-style party structures and creating a new movement that campaigns on issues that “fire up” new members, the front-runner for the party’s leadership has said.
In an interview with The Independent, Tim Farron said the party had been seen as – “at best” – managerial in government and must go back to “doorstep politics” that made people “passionate and inspired”.
Mr Farron revealed that if he won the leadership of the Liberal Democrats the party would abandon trying to shadow every government department in the House of Commons, concentrating instead on a few key issues that motivated the party’s membership.
He also hinted that Lib Dems in the House of Lords – where the Government does not have a majority – could join with Labour to defeat Conservative legislation even if it was in the Tory manifesto.
“We will behave in a way that is respectful of the democratically elected government although we are bound to acknowledge the fact that this Government has one of the smallest mandates that I can think of,” he said.
“Less than 25 per cent of the people north of the M25 voted for the party in power so that does temper any mandate they may claim to have.”
Around 13,000 people have joined the Lib Dems since the party’s catastrophic election defeat this month and Mr Farron said he wanted to increase Lib Dem membership to 100,000 by 2020.
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