Tim Farron

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Tim Farron
Tim Farron (2008).jpg
President of the Liberal Democrats
In office
1 January 2011 – 31 December 2014
Leader Nick Clegg
Preceded by The Baroness Scott of Needham Market
Succeeded by The Baroness Brinton
Liberal Democrats Environment Spokesperson
In office
18 December 2007 – 13 May 2010
Leader Nick Clegg
Preceded by Chris Huhne
Succeeded by Position abolished
Member of Parliament
for Westmorland and Lonsdale
Assumed office
5 May 2005
Preceded by Tim Collins
Majority 8,949 (18.3%)
Personal details
Born Timothy James Farron
(1970-05-27) 27 May 1970 (age 45)
Preston, Lancashire, England
Nationality British
Political party Liberal Democrats
Spouse(s) Rosie Farron
Children 1 daughter
2 sons
Alma mater Newcastle University
Occupation Politician
Profession Educator
Religion Church of England

Timothy James "Tim" Farron (born 27 May 1970) is a British Liberal Democrat politician. He is Member of Parliament (MP) for Westmorland and Lonsdale and was President of the Liberal Democrats from 2011 to 2014.[1][2] Farron is a candidate in the 2015 Liberal Democrats leadership election to succeed Nick Clegg.

Early life[edit]

Farron was born in Preston, Lancashire, and educated at Lostock Hall High School and Runshaw College, Leyland, before going on to Newcastle University where he gained a BA in Politics in 1992. He was president of Newcastle University Union Society, the first Lib Dem to hold the position, in 1991, having joined the Liberal Party at the age of 16. In 1990, he was elected to the National Union of Students' National Executive.[3] Before his election to Parliament, Farron worked in higher education at Lancaster University from 1992–2002 and St. Martin's College, Ambleside, from 2002-5.

Political career[edit]

Farron contested North West Durham at the 1992 general election, where he finished in third place, 20,006 votes behind the sitting Labour Party MP Hilary Armstrong.

Farron served on Lancashire County Council from 1993–2000 and was also a councillor on South Ribble Borough Council from 1995 to 1999.

Farron was selected to contest the Labour/Conservative marginal constituency of South Ribble at the 1997 general election, and again finished in third place. He was a Liberal Democrat candidate for the North West region in the 1999 European Parliament elections.

At the 2001 general election, Farron contested the Westmorland and Lonsdale seat and finished second, reducing the majority of the sitting Conservative MP Tim Collins to 3,167.

Farron served as a councillor for the Milnthorpe ward on the South Lakeland District Council from 2004-8.

At the 2005 general election, Farron again fought Collins in Westmorland and Lonsdale, and this time won this election by a narrow margin of just 267 votes. He made his maiden speech in Parliament on 25 May 2005.[4]

Farron has been a member of the Education and Skills Select Committee since his election, and later in 2005 was appointed as Youth Affairs Spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats. He is the Chair of the All Party group on Hill Farming.

During Menzies Campbell's period as the Liberal Democrat leader, Farron was Campbell's Parliamentary Private Secretary. In 2007 he was given the responsibility as Liberal Democrat spokesman for Home Affairs.

Farron resigned from the front bench of the Liberal Democrats on 5 March 2008 in protest at the party's abstention from a parliamentary vote on the EU referendum. However he later returned to the party's front bench as spokesperson for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.[5] He is a member of the Beveridge Group within the Liberal Democrats.[6]

Farron was one of four Liberal Democrat MPs who voted against the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007.[7][8] On his decision to vote this way Farron commented "I voted against two bits of the Equalities Act because I take a rather extreme liberal view on free speech – if I remember rightly I took the same stance on the issue as Peter Tatchell who is not, so far as I am aware, a homophobe" and backing up this, Farron also stated "That's why, for instance, I also voted for the abolition of the blasphemy laws."[9]


In the 2010 general election, Farron achieved an 11.1% swing from the Conservatives, winning by a majority of 12,264 in his historically Tory seat. This result was against the run of the rest of the party, making Westmorland and Lonsdale one of the few Lib Dem strongholds.[10]

On 27 May 2010, Farron announced he would be standing for the position of Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats, made vacant by the resignation of Vince Cable. On 9 June, Farron lost the competition to the former party President, Simon Hughes. Hughes won by 20 votes; having had 38 nominations from the parliamentary party, compared to Farron's 18.

On 16 September 2010, Farron announced he would be standing for the position of President of the Liberal Democrats following The Baroness Scott's decision not to seek re-election. He won the election with 53% of the vote, beating fellow candidate Susan Kramer on 47%.[11]

In March 2012, Farron was one of three MPs who signed a letter sent to the Advertising Standards Authority, criticising their recent decision to stop the Christian group "Healing on the Streets of Bath" from making explicit claims that prayer can heal. The letter called for the ASA to provide indisputable scientific evidence that faith healing did not work; Farron subsequently admitted that the letter was not "well-worded" and that he should not have signed it "as it was written".[12]

Farron was one of only eight Liberal Democrats elected nationwide at the 2015 general election. He is considered a favourite to succeed Clegg as Leader of the Liberal Democrats.[13]

In May 2015, Farron confirmed his bid for the Liberal Democrat leadership on BBC Radio 4.[14]

Political position[edit]

Among political observers, Farron is widely seen as being of left-leaning political position.[15][16][17][18] Although he is typically seen as being on the left of the Liberal Democrats, he usually self-identifies as being of a centrist political position, also referring to himself as a liberal. In a 13 May 2015 interview on BBC Radio 4's The World at One programme, he said that the centre of British politics was "where we need to be".[19]


In December 2010, he voted very strongly against increasing the cap on undergraduate university tuition fees from £3,000 to £9,000.[20] Referring to Nick Clegg's earlier pledge not to raise fees—and the previous long-standing Liberal Democrat policy of abolishing them—he said: "Integrity is important. You must not only keep your word but be seen to keep your word. You can say no."[21]

LGBT rights[edit]

He voted in favour of allowing marriage between two people of same sex at the second reading of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill but he voted not to timetable the debate on the Bill, which would have made it much more difficult to pass had the House of Commons agreed with his position;[22] and he did not vote for equal marriage on the third reading of the Bill.[23]

He also voted against the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations, which for the first time imposed a general restriction on businesses discriminating against people on the grounds of sexual orientation.[24]

Defence policy[edit]

He also voted against replacing Trident with a new nuclear weapons system.[25]

Personal life[edit]

Farron married Rosemary Cantley in July 2000 in Lancaster. The couple live in Milnthorpe, within the constituency Farron represents, with their two sons (born January 2004 and January 2006) and one daughter (born in September 2001), the younger son being born since his election to Parliament. He is a church-going Anglican who describes "becoming a Christian at the age of eighteen as the most massive choice I have made."[26]


  1. ^ Liberal Democrat Voice article on results - Lib Dem Voice
  2. ^ "Cambridgeshire campaigner becomes new President of the Liberal Democrats". itv.com. 2014-11-29. Retrieved 2015-03-22. 
  3. ^ "Tim Farron MP – MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, Party President | The Liberal Democrats - Our MPs in Detail". Libdems.org.uk. 13 November 2010. Retrieved 18 September 2013. 
  4. ^ House of Commons Debates for 25 May 2005 - Hansard
  5. ^ MP Tim Farron resigns from Lib Dem frontbench - The Westmorland Gazette 5 March 2008
  6. ^ About us - The Beveridge Group 28 October 2007
  7. ^ Department of the Official Report (Hansard), House of Commons, Westminster (19 March 2007). "Commons Hansard 19 March 2007". Publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved 18 September 2013. 
  8. ^ "publicwhip.org voting summary". Publicwhip.org.uk. Retrieved 18 September 2013. 
  9. ^ "Tim Farron runs for deputy leader; Campbell and Munt back him". Libdemvoice.org. 27 May 2010. Retrieved 18 September 2013. 
  10. ^ "BBC News - Election 2010 - Constituency - Westmorland & Lonsdale". BBC News. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 9 May 2010. 
  11. ^ "Tim Farron elected as Lib Dem president". BBC News. 13 November 2010. Retrieved 13 November 2010. 
  12. ^ "Tim Farron: 'Prayer Can Heal' Letter Was A Mistake". Huffington Post UK. 29 March 2012. Retrieved 30 March 2012. 
  13. ^ Parker, George and Stacey, Kiran. "Nick Clegg resigns as Liberal Democrats suffer electoral catastrophe", Financial Times, 8 May 2015. (accessed 9 May 2015)
  14. ^ "Liberal Democrat leadership: Tim Farron confirms his bid". BBC NEWS. 14 May 2015. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  15. ^ Nick Clegg resigns: Lib Dems rush to replace leader with Tim Farron and Norman Lamb as potential candidates - The Independent. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  16. ^ Tim Farron not a 'credible leader' for Lib Dems, says Vince Cable - The Guardian. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  17. ^ - Leftwinger Tim Farron is now 'unstoppable' in battle to replace Nick Clegg as leader after a Lib Dem election wipeout - Daily Mail. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  18. ^ Exclusive: Tim Farron: Lib Dems will have to back Labour if they win more seats than the Tories - NewStatesman. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  19. ^ Tim Farron: Extremism proposals "authoritarian and Orwellian" - BBC Radio 4. Aired and retrieved 13 May 2015.
  20. ^ Tuition fees: How Liberal Democrat MPs voted - BBC News. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  21. ^ Tory coalition will tarnish Lib Dems for a generation, Tim Farron warns - The Guardian. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  22. ^ [1] - Commons Hansard 5 February 2013
  23. ^ [2] - Commons Hansard 21 May 2013
  24. ^ [3] - Commons Hansard 19 March 2007
  25. ^ How Tim Farron voted on issues - They Work For You. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  26. ^ Church Times, page 44, 20 May 2011

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Tim Collins
Member of Parliament
for Westmorland and Lonsdale

Party political offices
Preceded by
The Baroness Scott of Needham Market
President of the Liberal Democrats
Succeeded by
The Baroness Brinton