UK Politics

UK democracy needs Lib Dem recovery - Tim Farron

Tim Farron

Tim Farron has said it is "in the interests of British democracy" that the Lib Dems recover in next week's UK-wide elections.

The Lib Dem leader conceded his party had "a battle" on its hands.

But he said Labour's woes present it with a "huge opportunity" to show itself as "an effective opposition".

He claims membership has increased by 50% since last year's general election, when the party was nearly wiped out at Westminster.

In an interview with BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Farron said the elections were "important UK-wide" because the country is faced with "a divided and divisive Labour Party when we ought to be talking about a Conservative Party that's attacking junior doctors, reducing police numbers and effectively privatising our schools".

'Rolling up our sleeves'

Told that voters do not know who he is, Mr Farron said: "That's the job we have got. We've got a battle to get back to the centre of British politics and people's attentions and we can only do that by winning some elections."

He said it took former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown two to three years to get 50% name recognition.

"The point is you don't get prissy or pompous or selfish about this, you roll your sleeves up and get things done, and frankly given the state of Britain's most ineffective opposition in living memory - the Labour Party - it's in the interests of British democracy that the Lib Dems recover next Thursday. I hope we will."

Mr Farron also defended his party's use of the House of Lords to defeat government legislation despite describing it as "undemocratic".

"We don't agree with first past the post or the way the House of Commons is elected but it's the system we've got so we will use it."

Britain goes to the polls on Thursday in the biggest set of elections, outside of a general election, for some years. They are quite separate from the EU referendum, which is due to take place the following month (23 June).

Here is a rundown of the elections taking place on 5 May:

  • Scottish Parliament
  • Welsh Assembly
  • Northern Ireland Assembly
  • Local council elections in England
  • Mayor of London and London Assembly
  • Police and crime commissioner elections

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