It seems Tim Farron has rather annoyed his senior Lib Dem colleagues with his quite naked desire to become party leader. After the ambitious MP said that the Lib Dems got 2/10 for the way they’d handled the Coalition, he received a pretty hefty slap down from Lord Ashdown on this morning’s Pienaar’s Politics on Radio 5Live. The Lib Dem General Election campaign chair didn’t bother sending veiled messages to Farron about criticising the party leadership and saying that the Lib Dems are ‘dead’. Instead, he just verbally roughed up Farron in the way Farron has been roughing up his own party leadership.
‘His well-known ambition would be better served with a little more patience and a little more judgement,’ said Ashdown, adding later that ‘judgement is not his strong suit’.
Farron has clearly decided that there’s enough appetite in his party for someone who criticises the leadership in the run-up to the election, rather than someone who bides their time, quietly builds up support and then throws their hat into the ring when there’s a real leadership contest. It’s a risky strategy though, not so much because it invites these sorts of verbal attacks from Ashdown, but also because too much ambition too early can deter potential supporters.