20 Sep 2011

‘If Nick Clegg wanted to quit, I’d nail him to the floor’

Liberal Democrat Party President Tim Farron rebuts suggestions that he wants to replace Nick Clegg as party leader in an interview with Channel 4 News Political Editor Gary Gibbon.

Asked by Channel 4 News Political Editor Gary Gibbon what would happen if Nick Clegg suggested he wanted to stand down, Tim Farron said: “If Nick Clegg wanted to quit, I’d nail his feet to the floor.”

Many observers have suggested that Mr Farron is angling for Mr Clegg’s job as Liberal Democrat leader, but he insisted: “I want him to be leader of this party for so long that by the time the vacancy comes up, I’ll be too decrepit to take it.”

Distancing himself from an earlier speech where he referenced the coalition by saying “divorce is inevitable”, Mr Farron said: “Divorce and marriage is not a good way to talk to about the coalition – I wanted to make a joke.”

Read more in Gary Gibbon's blog on what he made of his encounter with Tim Farron

Speaking at a fringe event at the Liberal Democrat party conference, Mr Farron said it was more of a business partnership, but denied that it had become too close.

“The idea we have made a long term ideological commitment to the Conservatives is absolute pants,” he said.

“We are two separate parties…it is polite, but it is not permanent.”

Mr Farron did however say that being in coalition would prevent the Conservatives calling a surprise election.

He said: “We’ve taken the starting pistol away from David Cameron – we know when the election will be.”

When asked who the Liberal Democrats should side with were that election to also produce a hung parliament, Mr Farron said they would take the decision in the same way – forming a government with the majority party.

Referencing the AV vote, which the Lib Dems lost, he added: “The people will decide. That will be the system next time. It’s a flawed system, but they chose it.”

Twitter reaction
What did you think of Gary Gibbon’s interview with Tim Farron? Here’s a sample of some of your comments on Twitter.

malhunt: oh I think tuition fees will be the timebomb under lib dems you cannot lie to the degree they did and get away with it!
sandiewardie: this is the best thing at present 4 our Country 2 parties working 2gether real adult politic so b positive please :-)
bigsamthetim: sad that they looked such a suitable couple that day in the Rose garden :-P

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