5 more senior Lib Dems back Farron for leader
Lib Dem Leadership candidate Tim Farron MP has released the names of five new senior backers. They are former Pensions Minister Steve Webb and DEFRA Minister Dan Rogerson, as well as former MPs Annette Brooke, Richard Younger-Ross and Stephen Lloyd. The new backing follows the release this morning of an independent poll by respected polling company Yougov, which shows Farron leading by a 3:1 margin amongst Lib Dem members.
This afternoon ballots for the Lib Dem leadership are sent out to party members throughout the UK.
The five high profile Lib Dems joined many other former MPs in backing Tim to be the next party leader. Tim has also received high profile backing from former equalities minister Jo Swinson and former party leader, Lord Steel, as well as fellow MPs Greg Mulholland, John Pugh and Mark Williams.
Tim said: "I want to thank Steve, Dan, Annette, Richard and Stephen for their support.
"I am running a positive and unifying campaign and it is fantastic to see that resonating with the party's membership and with friends and colleagues alike.
There has never been more need for a distinctive Liberal Democrat voice in politics. Together I know we can build a party that every member can be proud of."
Steve Webb said: "Tim Farron is a principled liberal who has the ability to speak in plain language that is understood by people who live outside the Westminster bubble. We need someone who can motivate not only our own party members but also the wider public to join the campaign for the liberal cause, and I believe Tim has the passion and enthusiasm to do this."
Stephen Lloyd, former MP for Eastbourne, said: "Both candidates are true liberals and I admire, like and respect each of them tremendously. For me, therefore, it simply comes down to who is most likely to help our Party win again? The UK needs a strong, liberal voice now more than ever and as the Liberal Democrats stand-out campaigner and communicator I have no doubt that the right person to lead us is Tim Farron. He has a special ability to connect with people and I know that because I've seen it for myself many times!"
Stephen added: "It is also very important that we as a Party connect with business and are seen as the rational voice of aspiration. A liberal, free-trade, internationalist alternative to conservatism which encompasses the desire for equality of opportunity in a way the Conservatives never can, will or even want to! In my opinion Tim Farron grasps this and has the ability to communicate that crucial vision clearly and with passion, which is why I am supporting him as our new Leader."
Richard further added: "The choice before the Party is not an easy one. We have two excellent candidates; one who was a brilliant president of the Party and the other an extremely good Minister.
"I have known them for many years and indeed I have worked with both of them in Parliament and have been inspired and impressed by their performances in the House. Norman was elected in the same intake as I was in 2001 and Tim a few years later in 2005.
"Whilst this is a hard choice, it is however to me a clear choice. I have no hesitation in backing Tim."
"Growing the Liberal Democrats is essential to the Party's revival, I believe Tim has the charisma and energy to achieve this. Being proud of what the Lib Dems achieved in Coalition is obvious but we must look forward and develop our Liberal Democrat policies. Tim has the ability to do this.
"And finally we must unite the Party, and all Liberal Democrats. Tim's time as President makes him, to me, best placed to achieve this. Please vote Farron for Leader. It is time for Tim."