James Forsyth

Farron’s difficult day

Farron's difficult day
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I’ve been away from Birmingham today but, even from a distance, it’s clear that Tim Farron has had a rather difficult day. It started with a story in The Times this morning about upset among his fellow MPs about his rhetoric on Sunday implying that the coalition partners would get divorced before 2015 and continued with him getting in a bit of a tangle about his leadership ambitions in interviews with Andrew Neil and Gary Gibbon.

Farron’s problem is that he is an obvious candidate to run in any future leadership contest and so the leadership will constantly push him about his intentions. These are hard enough questions for any politician to deal with, but particularly so for someone like Farron who, up to now, hasn’t been subjected to full-on media attention.

But before Farron’s many detractors on the liberal wing of the party get too excited, they should remember just how much Lib Dem activists dislike the media. Farron, who has the knack of connecting with them as shown yet again by his speech on Sunday, could just end up turning the whole situation to his advantage.