NEW Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron warned yesterday that the party might not “survive at all” after its defeat in the wake of the general election.
It could take a generation for Lib Dems to recover their position in the last parliament in which they had more than 50 MPs as part of the coalition government, he said. Now that number is down to eight.
“It is not inevitable that we survive at all,” Mr Farron told Sky News.
“Neither is it inevitable that it has to take forever.”
There was still a place in British politics for an “outsider, anti-Establishment, liberal third force” and that it was possible that the party could bounce back within a couple of years, he claimed.
And he branded Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget “morally wrong” and the Trident nuclear missile system a “cold war relic.”
Mr Farron was declared party leader on Thursday night, taking 56 per cent of the membership vote to beat Norman Lamb.
He succeeds Nick Clegg, who resigned when the Conservative Party took sole power on May 8.
The situation facing the Lib Dems is comparable to the Liberal Party’s position in 1976, Mr Farron claimed, when Jeremy Thorpe was forced to resign amid allegations he plotted to murder a male former lover.
“That was a pretty terrible time for the party and it took five or six years to go from that unbelievable low point to the point where we got 26 per cent of the vote,” Mr Farron said.