Sunday, 25 March 2012

An interview with Tim Farron

I sent this off to Liberal Youth a while ago so that it could be posted on the LY Libertine blog. Given that it still hasn't gone up, however, I've decided to post it here anyway. That said, please go and check out the Libertine because it really is very good.

When I was at Lib Dem spring conference in Gateshead the other weekend I was fortunate enough to be able to interview the Liberal Democrat party president, Tim Farron MP, as part of a session organised by Liberal Youth.

Liberal Youth bloggers with Tim Farron - I’m the third from the right .
Tim was due to propose his motion making amendments to the party’s constitution very shortly after the interview session so unfortunately we only had a very short period of time in which to interview him and so we had to take it in turns to ask questions.

The other interviews should be appearing on the LY Libertine blog over the next few days.

I recorded the answers Tim gave to my questions but unfortunately I found our my dictaphone had run out of power just as I went to use it and so I had to use my phone instead. There was a lot of background noise on the recording and, because Tim isn’t a very loud speaker, I’m afraid there are few sections of the interview where I can’t decipher what was said. All of them are fairly brief though so hopefully the following transcript will give you a good idea of what was said:

George: How low do you think it’s going to be possible to squeeze the Labour vote in your constituency so far?

Tim: Laughs. Um, take no vote for granted. Um we got, the Labour vote in Westmorland and Lonsdale at the last election was, I think I’m right in saying, it was nearly two per cent, I think it’s the lowest percentage share of the vote that Labour’s got in a general election in any seat since universal suffrage. So, you know… to an aide You can be super nerdy and find out that I’m wrong

Aide: It is two per cent.

Tim: Ah, so it was two per cent.

Another aide: Nearly two point two per cent.

Tim: They had a very good candidate by the way.

Inaudible comment by someone else.

Tim: That’s right. And I think we had er, Dan Rogerson got very close as well – the other one.
You take nothing for granted, um, I think the, we had a by-election in Windemere just four or five weeks ago where, I think where they got 10% previously, and we halved that to 5. And again we had a very good candidate. Came in a ward with his former inaudible

Um the point is not to see people as Labour voters, or as anything else, but as human beings, and as people who have a vote to cast. And you’ve just got to be on people’s side really. You won’t always agree with them and they won’t always agree with you, but if you are - you love them to death, basically – um, then you will normally get rewarded for it but just don’t ever take it for granted. I never assume, I don’t put, I mean, Labour got twenty one - nineteen per cent - in er ’97, the big Blair uplift, thankfully, we didn’t fight that campaign inaudible

But we know that there are one in five people in Westmorland who would consider voting Labour, um it would be stupid to ignore it.

Moves onto other questions.

George: Um, if I could ask an awkward question

Tim: Please do

George: Do you think it was moral or liberal, er for our MPs, yourself included, to vote to time limit to contributory ESA to one year when government figures show that 94% of people in receipt of it won’t have found work within that time?

Tim: Yeah, um tough one. Um the simple fact is that, um, we couldn’t afford a two year limit. And, in the end, that was what the pragmatic decision was.  I thought… I should be careful saying since this is being recorded… but shall I say that I considered my position very carefully

George: Yeah.

Tim: And when you know, that as a Member of Parliament, it comes to going through the lobby, that you are actually not going to change the outcome of the result, even if you wanted to, then you’ve got to think what are your motives for doing that.

I’d, I’d have been able to appeal to the wider membership, and perhaps some of my constituents, and I wouldn’t have achieved anything, and it would, there were a lot of wins we had inaudible

The fact that the changes are going to be reviewed as they’re implemented, and the fact that there’s an awful lot of discretionary measures available, these were all wins we got because the Lords were, er, not accidentally, difficult. You know inaudible and we’ve got to think, okay we’ve achieved this, um it’s not brilliant and er I, you asked me earlier about Labour voters, and I, I get much less troubled by Labour voters in my constituency than I do by my conscience.

Erm, and sometimes there are things I’ll do, I’ll think, I don’t like this, and I’ll think, we’re in coalition, none of us are happy with the situation, but I’ve got to balance that, and Nick [Clegg] and Steve [Webb] have done a lot. And I thought I owe it to them to be loyal and not to be a pain - given that I wasn’t going to change the result anyway.

Moves onto other questions.

As Tim is about to leave.

George: Very quickly, in a single sentence, what’s your favourite coalition policy?

Tim: I, personally, I guess it’s probably, erm the er the decision not to renew Trident.

George: Thank you.


  1. Thanks for putting this this interview up George, and credit to you for putting to Tim the question on ESA.

  2. Sorry but i am just to disgusted with the whole lot of them. After seeing that group who are in league with each other and are part of the bridgepoint private healthcare (Milburn Nash Lansley and Patten) and knowing about the BBC news blackouts there is absolutely nothing whatsoever any rotten one of them in any rotten party can say to me that can justify what they are doing. They are killing people on a daily basis to line their own pockets. Each and every one of them has their finger in the pie that is OUR NHS, and they are destroying it without a backwards glance. They are dispicable. Sorry but i voted lib/dem for over 30 yrs BUT NEVER EVER EVER AGAIN. They have deceived, lied and cheated people of thier votes. Disgusting.

  3. Tim Farron believes in divine healing.


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