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Farron mulling Lib Dem leader bid

Published 09/05/2015

Nick Clegg, speaks to the media and party supporters at the ICA in London, as he resigns as leader of the Liberal Democrats.
Nick Clegg, speaks to the media and party supporters at the ICA in London, as he resigns as leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Former Liberal Democrat party president Tim Farron has said he will decide "in the next few days" whether to throw his hat in the ring to succeed Nick Clegg.

Mr Farron, seen as the front-runner to become the new leader, said he was determined to play a "big role" in rebuilding the party after its disastrous showing in the General Election.

"I am listening to members and activists, our other parliamentarians in Westminster, the European Parliament, Scotland and Wales, and hearing their views. My job surely is to respond to that and I will do so in the next few days," he told Sky News.

"I am ruling nothing in and nothing out. Our party absolutely must survive and thrive and I am determined to play a big role in making sure that happens. What role that is is up to the members."

Mr Clegg dramatically quit as Lib Dem leader yesterday after the party was left with a rump of just eight MPs following its election night bloodbath.

Mr Farron, who is on the left of the party and was at times critical of Mr Clegg's leadership, said they now needed to rebuild from the grassroots.

"We have just seen a General Election that was won by the politics of fear and division, both within Scotland by the Scottish National Party and within England by David Cameron's Conservatives," he said.

"What we need is a Britain which draws together with strong liberal values. There has never been more need for a Liberal party.

"We will build up from the grassroots as we have before. Our party has been in worse positions than this in the past."

Despite having paid a heavy price at the ballot box, Mr Farron defended Mr Clegg's decision to take the party into coalition with the Conservatives after the 2010 General Election.

"Even with hindsight, I don't regret what the party chose to do five years ago. I think Nick Clegg's decision was brave and right and in the national interest," he said.

Other potential leadership contenders from the remaining group of Lib Dem MPs are thought to include Norman Lamb who was health minister in the Coalition and Alistair Carmichael who was the Scottish secretary.

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