Tim Farron has been duly announced as the new leader of the Liberal Democrats. The party revealed that 56.5 per cent voted for Farron to succeed Nick Clegg, compared to 43.5 per cent for his rival Norman Lamb. Although Farron was the favourite to win before the leadership race kicked off, Lamb has still put in a good showing, despite his lesser reputation. We can expect to see more of him too: Farron told Coffee House that Lamb will given a public role representing the party.
And here was the result being announced by Deputy Returning Officer and CEO of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Gordon. https://t.co/A2PPxbl6aK
— Liberal Democrats (@LibDems) July 16, 2015
Interestingly, just 56 per cent of Lib Dem members voted in the leadership contest, despite a 30 per cent rise in membership since the election. One of Farron’s first tasks, who has a Tiggerish enthusiasm, will be to motivate the 44 per cent of Lib Dems who didn’t bother to vote in this election. The party came close to extinction at the general election and Farron has to face the large task of cheering up his party and show there is still a point to its existence.
When I spoke Farron earlier this week, he revealed that his first job will be to move the leader’s office from the Houses of Parliament to party HQ. In his quest to reinvigorate the Lib Dems, he will move the focus away from its paltry representation in the Commons and back onto the grassroots. Farron described the party’s new message as one that is ‘not nuanced but is all about challenging this government on the things and providing more hopeful, more colourful and more exciting alternatives’.
But before that, Farron has a victory rally to host. At Islington Assembly Hall this evening, he will address the troops and set out what he intends to do as leader. We’ll be reporting on what happens later on.