Farron appeals to Labour voters alienated by Corbyn

Tim Farron speaks at the Liberal Democrats' conference today
Tim Farron speaks at the Liberal Democrats' conference today
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TIM FARRON has ruled out the Liberal Democrats working with Labour if it re-elects Jeremy Corbyn as its leader.

The Lib Dem leader insisted he was ready to work with Mr Corbyn’s opponent Owen Smith and other senior Labour figures including Yorkshire MPs Yvette Cooper and Caroline Flint.

But a victory for Mr Corbyn would leave Labour “hopelessly divided and patently unfit for government, with no plan for the economy or the country; led by a man who is obsessed with re-fighting the battles of the past and ignoring the damage the Government is doing to our future,” he claimed.

Ms Cooper and Ms Flint are seeking the chairmanship of the Commons Home Affairs Committtee along with fellow former Labour frontbencher Chuka Umunna.

Mr Farron said the three should be contesting Labour’s leadership election.

“What are these people doing, jostling for position in a sideshow. They should be centre stage,” he said.

In his speech at the end of the Lib Dems’ annual conference in Brighton questioned the unremitting criticism of former prime minister Tony Blair by Corbyn-supporting sections of the Labour Party

Comparing Mr Blair to 1990s band The Stone Roses, Mr Farron said he “preferred the early work” and praised policies such as working tax credits and school building.

“I disagree with him a lot, but I will not criticise him for those things. I admire him for those things. I respect him for believing that the point of being in politics is to get stuff done, and you can only get stuff done if you win.

“Otherwise you’re letting your opponent get stuff done instead.

“The Corbyn crowd like to talk in terms of loyalty and betrayal. Well, there is no surer way to betray the people you represent than to let your opponents win.”

Mr Farron used his speech to set out Lib Dem policies to scrap standardised primary school testing and to raise taxes to support reform of the NHS and social care.

He also argued the Conservatives approach to Brexit had cost the party its pro-business credentials.

Mr Farron said: “My message to any business in this country – large or small – is if you are backing today’s Conservative Party, you are funding your own funeral.”