Lib Dems aren’t being squeezed, Farron insists

16 May

The Lib Dem leader insisted to Sky News that the party was making progress, saying: “We’ve got 103,000 members now, it’s our biggest membership, we raced past that in the first few days of the election campaign.

“I’d take issue with you about the local elections, we increased our vote share by 7%, the only opposition party that was left standing as a consequence of all that.

“And I think we learnt in the locals two or three things.

“UKIP are finished because the Tory party have basically adopted all their policies and their principles, the Labour party (is) imploding and clearly aren’t going to be the next government of our country and we learnt that we’re facing a Conservative landslide unless the one opposition party that’s got any chance of gaining any seats off the Tories whatsoever, the Liberal Democrats, if the Liberal Democrats do well then we can have a different future.”

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Tim Farron reacts to Labour's manifesto

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It comes as new Sky Data revealed the party is merely treading water three weeks into the 2017 campaign.

Only 61% of people who voted for the Lib Dems in 2015 intend to do so again.

And while the party is gaining support from elsewhere, with 17% of new backers former Conservatives and 15% from Labour, there hasn’t been a significant shift.

The number one issue for Liberal Democrat voters was the EU referendum, which is at the centre piece of their campaign message.


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The polling comes as the party launches its 95-page manifesto on Wednesday, saying “nothing is more important to our children’s future than Brexit.”

New policies include allowing tenants to use rent payments to buy their own homes.

The rent-to-own scheme would see monthly rents used like a mortgage, with working tenants owning their own home over a 30-year period.

The party would use a Housing and Infrastructure Development Bank to help firms and housing associations fund the building of rent to own homes.


Lib Dems will invest £7 billion more in schools and colleges over the next parliament.

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Lib Dems promise extra £7billion for schools

The Lib Dems have also promised to restore housing benefit to young people, bring in bus passes for 16-21 year olds with a two-thirds discount, and lower the voting age to 16 if they gain power.

The have previously pledged to boost education spending by £6.9bn over five years, double the number of businesses that take apprenticeships, and extend free school meals to all primary school pupils.

Mr Farron, who will launch the manifesto on Wednesday evening, said: “You don’t have to accept Theresa May and Nigel Farage’s extreme version of Brexit that will wreck the future for you, your family, your schools and hospitals.

“In the biggest fight for the future of our country in a generation, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour has let you down by voting with Theresa May on Brexit, not against her.


Tim Farron

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“The Liberal Democrats want you to have a choice over your future.

“You should have your say on the Brexit deal in a referendum.

“And if you don’t like the deal you should be able to reject it and choose to remain in Europe.

“We want to give all our children a brighter future in a fairer Britain where people are decent to each other, with good schools and hospitals, a clean environment and an innovative economy.

“Not Theresa May’s cold, mean-spirited Britain.”

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