Tim Farron: I don't want to be Lib Dem leader

The Westmorland Gazette: VOTE Tim Farron (middle) sat behind Nick Clegg (right) at the Lib Dem conference today VOTE Tim Farron (middle) sat behind Nick Clegg (right) at the Lib Dem conference today

The Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron today denied he had ambitions to lead the Liberal Democrats.

Asked if he would accept the job if offered it, Mr Farron said "certainly not".

Mr Farron, who is the party's president, has often been tipped as a potential future Lib Dem leader.

He raised eyebrows at the party's Birmingham conference on Sunday with an outspoken attack on their Conservative coalition partners - saying they would be "an absolute nightmare" if governing alone.

In an interview for BBC2's Daily Politics today, Mr Farron was challenged over whether he was positioning himself to take over the leadership when Nick Clegg's time runs out.

He replied: "I have no such ambition."

Asked by interviewer Andrew Neil whether he would accept the leadership if offered, he replied: "Certainly not".

And when Neil followed up: "You would refuse it?", he responded swiftly: "Yes."

"It is not going to come up," said Mr Farron.

"Nick Clegg is doing a brilliant job. not only is Nick Clegg doing a great job, but he is also a mate and somebody who deserves support."

Mr Farron acknowledged he had heard a joke which has been circulating among delegates at Birmingham: "Who does Tim Farron want to be when he grows up? Simon Hughes."

But he insisted there was nothing wrong in being compared to Mr Hughes, who has long been seen as the voice of the Lib Dem left without ever winning the party leadership.

"Everybody's ambition should be to be like Simon," joked Mr Farron.

Mr Farron also admitted feeling "uncomfortable" that his party's conference includes supermarket giants Asda and Tesco among its sponsors.

"I take the view that Asda and Tesco have huge questions to ask about the way they treat farmers," he told BBC North West.

"You ask me, am I personally uncomfortable about being at a conference that is sponsored by people I think have damaged my farmers?

"Too right I am."

But he added: "A lovely phrase from the Salvation Army days: 'I'm quite happy to take dirty money and clean it'. So here we go."

Mr Farron, a former Lib Dem agriculture spokesman, said he did not blame the supermarkets for "exploiting" farmers as it was the system that was at fault.

He welcomed the Government's commitment to introduce a new watchdog.

Comments (5)

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6:23pm Tue 20 Sep 11

wezzyk says...

Feel sorry for Tim - misinterpreted yet again, by responding yes i would want the job if it came up would only be fueling speculation that the leadership is on the cards.
But this is manipulated and squeezed through the 'press twister' and churned out as i don't ever want the job!!

Keep up the good work Tim best MP this region has had in many, many years
Feel sorry for Tim - misinterpreted yet again, by responding yes i would want the job if it came up would only be fueling speculation that the leadership is on the cards. But this is manipulated and squeezed through the 'press twister' and churned out as i don't ever want the job!! Keep up the good work Tim best MP this region has had in many, many years wezzyk
  • Score: 0

8:33am Wed 21 Sep 11

life cycle too says...

Update on Ian Timms show on Radio Cumbria this morning!
Use "Listen Again" for the next seven days to hear it straight from the horses mouth.

Good man - seems more honest than most of the breed!
Update on Ian Timms show on Radio Cumbria this morning! Use "Listen Again" for the next seven days to hear it straight from the horses mouth. Good man - seems more honest than most of the breed! life cycle too
  • Score: 0

11:30am Wed 21 Sep 11

The Millness1 says...

'Tim Farron: I don't want to be Lib Dem leader'
Shame we could do with someone with a bit of common sense!!
'Tim Farron: I don't want to be Lib Dem leader' Shame we could do with someone with a bit of common sense!! The Millness1
  • Score: 0

4:13pm Wed 21 Sep 11

Roysyboy says...

Tim is being diplomatic.

Clegg is just a wretched careerist with no principles. He knows he now has no future but why worry! he'll get a good pension I'm sure (unlike others in the public sector)
Tim is being diplomatic. Clegg is just a wretched careerist with no principles. He knows he now has no future but why worry! he'll get a good pension I'm sure (unlike others in the public sector) Roysyboy
  • Score: 0

1:29pm Sun 25 Sep 11

give-up says...

Wish I could get a pension as good as the one being offered to the public sector, let alone the one they're clinging on ... oh, and the salary, holidays and working hours too........ some people don't know when they're well off.
Wish I could get a pension as good as the one being offered to the public sector, let alone the one they're clinging on ... oh, and the salary, holidays and working hours too........ some people don't know when they're well off. give-up
  • Score: 0

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