Last week, Sir Vince Cable was appointed – unchallenged – as leader of the Liberal Democrats. While some in the party would have preferred a younger leader or at the very least a two-horse race, there is one thing they can all agree on: Cable comes with less baggage than his predecessor. There is a general consensus that the party’s ‘liberal’ appeal was not helped in the election by Tim Farron spending so much time talking about how gay sex and abortion fitted in with his Christian faith.
But is it too early for the Lib Dems to breath a collective sigh of relief? A little (yellow) bird tells Steerpike that there is concern at Lib Dem towers that Farron could cause the party more issues yet. As his widely respected spokesman Paul Butters departs from his role this week, Lib Dems are concerned Farron could be inclined to speak a bit too freely from the backbenches.
Matters have not been helped by a piece Farron penned for the i paper earlier this month that caught party officials off guard. In the article, Farron went off message and complained that it was only fine to have religious beliefs ‘if you wear funky garb or have nice colourful festivals’. ‘The worry is that he has another piece still to write,’ whispers Mr S’s mole.
Commissioning editors – you know what to do.