Britain’s highest profile out Liberal Democrat member, Lord Brian Paddick has officially backed MP Tim Farron in the race for party leader.
• Tim Farron “100% Behind LGBTI Rights”
• Both Tim Farron and Norman Lamb have been nominated, now the party’s 61,000 members will decide who will be leader
• Brian Paddick confident in Farron’s grassroots approach to politics
Liberal Democrat peer Brian Paddick has revealed exclusively to the THEGAYUK that he is officially backing ex-Lib Dem party chairman Tim Farron, for leader, after it was revealed that both Tim Farron and Norman Lamb were successful in their nomination for the role that will undoubtedly be a tough struggle to rebuild the Liberal Democrats after a shattering defeat in the General Election.
The contest for the party’s leadership was sparked by the resignation of Nick Clegg last month after the party lost 49 seats.
Brian Paddick who was elevated to the House of Lords in 2013, has thrown his weight behind the Westmorland and Lonsdale MP, by championing his leadership and campaigning skills, which have enlivened grassroots activists and the Lib Dem membership.
“I have to be honest here and say that I didn’t think I would ever come to say this, being a supporter of Nick Clegg when he was leader, and bearing in mind on a couple occasions Tim Farron didn’t make some particularly helpful interventions, but I am supporting Tim Farron for leader of the Liberal Democrats, because I think he is exactly the person that the party needs when you consider the position that the party is in at the moment.
“Tim Farron has shown himself in being a master of connecting with activists and with ordinary members; he did a fantastic job as President of the party.
“He developed links with all parts of the country, got to know people in practically every corner of the UK, coupled with the fact that he’s very enthusiastic and has loads of energy.
“If we had been in a different situation and maintained the numbers of MPs that we had, then maybe it would be a different story, but I believe Tim Farron is the leader the Liberal Democrats need at this time.”
“We’ve got to build the party from the ground up and there’s one thing that Tim Farron is excellent at, and that is ground level politics.”
When asked if Tim Farron had the right showmanship for leadership and whether in future Leaders’ debates he would turn people on, Brian laughs and says,
“He’s not my type to be honest, but he is a very effective communicator.”
Tim Farron has attracted some criticism after he abstained from voting on same-sex marriage. He also voted to delay passage of the same-sex marriage bill, arguing that more time was needed to analyse the impact on religious groups.
Speaking about Farron’s record on voting Paddick remarked,
“Tim Farron has come under a lot of criticism from people who either deliberately or simply misread Tim’s position when it came to votes in the House of Commons on equal marriage,
“He did ask for a change in the timetable to allow more discussion over complex issues around people who have honestly held beliefs who are currently employed as registrars, for example, who would feel very uncomfortable because it conflicts with their faith to conduct an equal marriage ceremony. He felt not enough time had been allowed in the parliamentary time belt to discuss those issues.
“He has made it absolutely clear subsequently, he was specifically asked by a group of Christians, if there was a equal marriage repeal act or bill to reverse the decision he would absolutely not support that in any way shape or form.
“As the Liberal Democrats’ gayest highest profile member I am absolutely confident that I can vote for Tim Farron and that he is absolutely 100% behind LGBTI rights.”
The Liberal Democrats’ 61,000 members will now be able to cast their vote for the person they’d like to see as leader. Ballot papers will be sent on the 24th June, with results announced on the 16th July.