Liberal Democrat wins in Yorkshire needed to remove Boris Johnson from power, says Tim Farron

The Liberal Democrats can win back seats in Yorkshire at the next election – thanks in part to growing popularity among rural voters, the party’s former leader Tim Farron has suggested.

Mr Farron, who represents Westmorland and Lonsdale in the Lake District, said currently the number of opposition-held seats in rural areas are currently “very few and far between”.

But he said the Liberal Democrats’ recent by-election victory in the previously safe Conservative constituency of North Shropshire shows there is potential for the party to do well in similar seats, with a “ceiling” on the Labour vote in such rural areas.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Mr Farron said he also “definitely” saw a chance for the Lib Dems to once again represent seats in Yorkshire.

Tim Farron believes the Lib Dems can repeat the success of the North Shropshire by-election.Tim Farron believes the Lib Dems can repeat the success of the North Shropshire by-election.
Tim Farron believes the Lib Dems can repeat the success of the North Shropshire by-election.

They currently have no MPs in the region but have previously held places such as Sheffield Hallam and Leeds North West before losing them to Labour, but Mr Farron believes they can be also be competitive in Conservative areas such as Harrogate and Knaresborough, which they last won in 2010.

“My sense is that the two by-election gains of 2021 – the one in North Shropshire in a Leave-voting, very rural constituency with mixed incomes and affluence and then the one in commuter-belt Chesham and Amersham in the summer – are results that tell you the Liberal Democrats have definitely recovered,” he said.

Read more:

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“In much of the United Kingdom, we are the main opposition to the Conservatives. That includes some seats where we are third, believe it or not.

“In North Shropshire we came from third.

“In seats like that, in those rural communities, there is a ceiling on the Labour vote which is smaller and lower than the ceiling on the Liberal Democrat vote. Rural communities will turn to us gladly and enthusiastically in a way they wouldn’t to Labour.

“That’s not to knock Labour, it is about being honest about the best route to seeking to remove a Conservative government.

“Any and every plausible pathway to Boris Johnson losing the next election if he remains leader involves a very significant Liberal Democrat revival and recovery and that includes seats in Yorkshire.”

'I didn't want to car crash my faith'

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Tim Farron said he decided to quit as party leader in 2017 because he did not wish to “car crash my faith”.

Mr Farron stepped down after saying he had been “torn between living as a faithful Christian and serving as a political leader” and should have dealt “more wisely” with questions on his opinions on issues like gay sex.

“It was either car crash my faith or be a terrible leader and I thought, let’s not do either,” he said.

Support The Yorkshire Post and become a subscriber today. Your subscription will help us to continue to bring quality news to the people of Yorkshire. In return, you'll see fewer ads on site, get free access to our app and receive exclusive members-only offers. Click here to subscribe.