POLITICS

Lib Dems Are 'Nutters' And 'Cockroaches', Says Party President Tim Farron

07/03/2013 20:21 GMT | Updated 08/03/2013 12:08 GMT

Liberal Democrat MPs are "nutters" and "cockroaches", according to ... Tim Farron, the president of the Lib Dems.

In an interview with parliament's The House magazine, Farron, widely considered to be a strong contender to succeed Nick Clegg as Lib Dem leader, reflected on the kind of person who joined his party.

He said: "So how do you get to be a Liberal Democrat MP? It’s not as if you can be flown into a safe seat because there aren’t any.

"So how do you become one? By being a nutter and working your socks off and doing the traditional Liberal Democrat grassroots building up a seat from nothing process."

Despite a whirlwind of scandal and being part of a less than popular government, the Lib Dems pulled off an unlikely victory in the Eastleigh by-election last week. Farron put the victory down to the party's expertise in exploiting incumbency. "We’re a bit like cockroaches after a nuclear war, just a bit less smelly, we are made of sterner stuff," he said.

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However he warned his fellow Lib Dems not to get complacent. "The party is in a critical state. We may well be cockroach-ish, but we shouldn’t take that for granted. One day someone will stand on us if we are not careful. We shouldn’t assume our survival is guaranteed."

Ahead of this weekend's Lib Dem spring conference in Brighton, where party activists will gather to engage in a bit of feel-good Tory bashing, Farron used the interview to attack David Cameron as a "very weak prime minister" who is "in the grasp" of the unintelligent right-wing of his party.

He said: "What David Cameron has not understood, what William Hague got so wrong, which is that saying things that the man in the pub tends to chime with doesn’t win you an election. Because those people when they’ve sobered up realise it sounds ridiculous."