James Forsyth

A Lib Dem to watch

A Lib Dem to watch
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Tim Farron is a name to remember. Farron has just been elected Lib Dem president and is widely regarded as the brightest hope of the party’s left.

Farron is a political natural. He won his seat from a Tory in 2005 and from endless campaigning has turned into as near as you get to a Lib Dem safe seat. At Lib Dem party conference, Farron was a late replacement for Charles Kennedy at the pro-AV rally and delivered the best speech of the night.  At the annual conference Glee Club, a bizarre sing-song that is a throwback to the days when there were very few Liberal MPs, Farron rapped. It could have been a moment of excoriating embarrassment and would have been with nearly any other politician, but he managed to pull it off.

Some in the party think that Farron isn’t making best use of his natural talents. One Orange-booker complains to me that ‘he wants to be Simon Hughes when he grows up, it is all rather tragic.’

But I suspect if the Lib Dems leave government in five years time and want to go back to being different from the other parties, Farron will be in with a strong contender for the leadership.