Tim Farron on Question Time: Europe, banking and an 'affair with Labour'

TIM Farron clashed with Labour MP Caroline Flint on his first Question Time appearance last night.

He debated the European debt crisis, social housing and business behaviour on the BBC topical debate programme, which also included Tory MP Grant Shapps and broadcaster Janet Street-Porter.

Attracting applause to some comments, the Westmorland and Lonsdale MP hit out at Labour’s past financial record.

Answering a question suggesting Labour leader Ed Miliband was taking his party to the left over comments made about some business practices, Mr Farron said: “I spent last night in Kendal talking to small businesses - paying themselves less than the minimum wage and keeping people in work - good businesses that have been put in an awful position because of bad Government decisions in the late 1990s to deregulate the banks which leaves us in the mess that we’re in now.”

Ms Flint said Mr Farron’s comment that Labour had spent ‘13 years in power behaving like Tories and months in opposition behaving like Trots’ was ‘absolutely ridiculous’.

She also repeated the word ‘rubbish’ as the Liberal Democrat president continued: “Labour entered power in 1997 and committed the appalling sin of out-Thatchering Mrs Thatcher and deregualting the banks.

“This is why we’re in the mess we’re in now - it’s not because Labour overspent, it’s because they decided to do something that even Margaret Thatcher didn’t dare do.”

Ms Flint hit back, and said that Labour had introduced holidays and a minimum wage.

Programme chair David Dimbleby gave Mr Farron an uncomfortable moment during a discussion on Europe and whether Britain should take back some powers from Brussels, as suggested by Foreign Secretary William Hague this week.

Mr Farron acknowledged the unpopularity of the EU in Britain but said he disagreed with Mr Hague.

The presenter quipped: “I know you don’t like being in coalition with the Tories and you want a divorce within three years or whatever and maybe you’re thinking of having an affair with Labour.”

A puzzled Mr Farron joked: “That’s all got too complicated, I think I might need an injunction,” to the amusement of the Liverpool audience.

He described plans to give priority social housing to people in work as ‘authoritarian’ and ‘populist’ and received applause when he said the decision to sell council homes was one of the most ‘ludicrous’ ever.

David Dimbleby closed the programme by asking Mr Farron whether he wanted the Coalition to ‘divorce’ before 2015, but the MP said the Government would last until then as Britain needed ‘stability.’

Mr Shapps added: “It will be a perfectly amicable divorce and it’ll happen on the first Thursday in May, 2015.”

Comments (7)

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5:30pm Fri 30 Sep 11

wezzyk says...

As always on this programme - it is almost impossible to make any true representations of facts or policies as the leader of events is hopeless never in control, always cutting off speakers and does not allow speakers to follow up when a valid point is made. But well done Tim for making the best of it.
As always on this programme - it is almost impossible to make any true representations of facts or policies as the leader of events is hopeless never in control, always cutting off speakers and does not allow speakers to follow up when a valid point is made. But well done Tim for making the best of it. wezzyk

8:24pm Fri 30 Sep 11

lins74 says...

i love the programme question time and was lucky enough to go to this programme in liverpool last night because i thought id get a chance to see our local MP in action and was hoping to meet him but alas no,all the panel left before us audience had the chance to talk to them!!tim seems like an authentic MP which is a rare thing indeed and i think his responses represented that,although i did feel a bit sorry for him when one audience member interupted him mid-flow!a
i love the programme question time and was lucky enough to go to this programme in liverpool last night because i thought id get a chance to see our local MP in action and was hoping to meet him but alas no,all the panel left before us audience had the chance to talk to them!!tim seems like an authentic MP which is a rare thing indeed and i think his responses represented that,although i did feel a bit sorry for him when one audience member interupted him mid-flow!a lins74

8:24pm Fri 30 Sep 11

lins74 says...

i love the programme question time and was lucky enough to go to this programme in liverpool last night because i thought id get a chance to see our local MP in action and was hoping to meet him but alas no,all the panel left before us audience had the chance to talk to them!!tim seems like an authentic MP which is a rare thing indeed and i think his responses represented that,although i did feel a bit sorry for him when one audience member interupted him mid-flow!a
i love the programme question time and was lucky enough to go to this programme in liverpool last night because i thought id get a chance to see our local MP in action and was hoping to meet him but alas no,all the panel left before us audience had the chance to talk to them!!tim seems like an authentic MP which is a rare thing indeed and i think his responses represented that,although i did feel a bit sorry for him when one audience member interupted him mid-flow!a lins74

8:34am Sat 1 Oct 11

Ben Berry says...

If you missed it you can watch it on BBC iPlayer
If you missed it you can watch it on BBC iPlayer Ben Berry

2:44pm Mon 3 Oct 11

doodleshire14 says...

Tim:"..... sheep-tagging!"
Dimbleby: "Sheep what-ing?"
TF:"SHEEP-TAGGING"
Priceless
Tim:"..... sheep-tagging!" Dimbleby: "Sheep what-ing?" TF:"SHEEP-TAGGING" Priceless doodleshire14

2:34pm Tue 4 Oct 11

Roysyboy says...

It's a shame that Tim Farron either doesn't understand, or is just happy to peddle the myth that Britain's economic troubles are all the fault of previous Labour governments.

In reality, the world economic crisis is not caused by, nor will it be solved by, governments.

Governments protect the condition that is basic to the running of class society: that the social means of production remain in private hands.They only guard and defend the conditons necessary for capitalist production. They don't control the production itself. They don't cause the crisis.

Tim Farron unfortunately thinks that SMALL-SCALE capitalist production is okay: that local employers are doing a great service to their workers by paying them the minimum wage!

In relation to the great classes of today's society: labour and capital, Tim wants to remain a classical liberal and be even-handed. Reality will probably force him to EVENTUALLY take the side of the working class against its' mortal enemy. But presently, he remains a left-apologist for the Coalition.
It's a shame that Tim Farron either doesn't understand, or is just happy to peddle the myth that Britain's economic troubles are all the fault of previous Labour governments. In reality, the world economic crisis is not caused by, nor will it be solved by, governments. Governments protect the condition that is basic to the running of class society: that the social means of production remain in private hands.They only guard and defend the conditons necessary for capitalist production. They don't control the production itself. They don't cause the crisis. Tim Farron unfortunately thinks that SMALL-SCALE capitalist production is okay: that local employers are doing a great service to their workers by paying them the minimum wage! In relation to the great classes of today's society: labour and capital, Tim wants to remain a classical liberal and be even-handed. Reality will probably force him to EVENTUALLY take the side of the working class against its' mortal enemy. But presently, he remains a left-apologist for the Coalition. Roysyboy

11:16am Thu 6 Oct 11

Kendmoor says...

I always enjoy QT and was pleased to hear Tim was going on, thought he did a fairly good job standing his ground, but as QT's go it was a fairly non-confrontational one. Amusingly Janet Street-Porter was able to squeeze out a brash generalisation about men within the first 60seconds of talking. I think Dimbleby usually does a fairly good job at moderating, though i have lost count of how many times panel members have had to tell him "no, you're misquoting me" or "no, thats not the full quote".
The Sheep Tagging comment made me laugh!
I always enjoy QT and was pleased to hear Tim was going on, thought he did a fairly good job standing his ground, but as QT's go it was a fairly non-confrontational one. Amusingly Janet Street-Porter was able to squeeze out a brash generalisation about men within the first 60seconds of talking. I think Dimbleby usually does a fairly good job at moderating, though i have lost count of how many times panel members have had to tell him "no, you're misquoting me" or "no, thats not the full quote". The Sheep Tagging comment made me laugh! Kendmoor

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