Shortly after the Brexit vote, when asked if he was open to creating a new political party, Tim Farron replied “We shouldn’t put any construct or constraint on what might happen next. People could come to us, they could set up another party, who knows. But there needs to be a realignment.”
The comments from the leader of the Liberal Democrats (who appears on this panel) came in the context of chaos in the Labour Party—a chaos that persists. The party’s MPs are seemingly entirely at odds with its membership on the issue of whether Jeremy Corbyn should remain leader. It has been suggested that this may present an opportunity for disillusioned Labour MPs to form a new political party with other Europhiles—including from the Conservative Party.
On Tuesday, the Guardian reported that a new cross-party “progressive alliance” has the support of Paddy Ashdown and Jonathon Porritt (also on this panel). Should those involved go one step further and push for an entirely new political party? Would the emergence of such a party be to Britain’s benefit? Our panellists answer.
A rallying call
Tim Farron, Leader of the Liberal Democrats
As Lib Dem leader it is my job to build a rallying point for those in all parties, and none, who are serious about wanting to build a party that will enter government and deliver a fairer, more competent society than the one we have. A government that cares about delivering a new deal for our NHS, building opportunity for our future generations through properly supporting our education system and doing so whilst acting in an economically responsible way.
I will work with pro-Europeans across all parties in this post-referendum climate, and more broadly I think it is important to make sure to make sure this century is more progressive than the last. I enjoyed working with people from other parties during the European Union Referendum, and I have always said I will work with anyone in any party to deliver liberal outcomes. But I think ultimately if you want progressive, liberal policies you need to join the Liberal Democrats!