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Why It's Time for Tim Farron to Lead the Liberal Democrats

29/05/2015 18:58 BST | Updated 29/05/2016 10:59 BST

It was a cold afternoon in November when, huddled before my computer screen, I typed out a message to Tim Farron, the then party president of the Liberal Democrats.

The message was a call for help. I was hoping to stand for election as the Liberal Democrat PPC in New Forest West and I needed assistance in applying.

I didn't expect Tim to reply, but to my surprise, he did.

His reply was polite and helpful. He offered to read my application script and pointed me in the right direction with tips on what to say. I was taken aback by the response and even more astounded that so much care was afforded to it.

It is moments like these that inspire people to enter the world of politics, to aspire them to be as good as the politician who has taken the time to talk to them. It certainly inspired me into getting more involved and I set up New Forest Liberal Youth to encourage more young people in the New Forest to become involved.

In terms of the leadership election, I will be campaigning for Tim for two main reasons. Firstly, his sheer skills as a public speaker and secondly, his commitment to standing up for unity, not division.

It is no secret that Tim has the welcome ability to speak and immediately attract people to him. In fact, perhaps his finest speech so far came at the 2014 Autumn Conference where Tim hounded David Cameron for saying "People get a bit frustrated by human rights." After reeling off a long list of human rights, Tim exclaimed "Mr Cameron, you may be Prime Minister but you are no statesman."

It was this particular part of the speech that really convinced me that Tim was the only man who could succeed Nick as leader. Not only did he hold 'Mr Cameron' to account but he upheld Liberal Democrat support for the Human Rights Act which is something that has come under relentless attack from the Conservatives in recent times. Sadly, now the Conservatives are in power alone and Michael Gove (he of education secretary stardom) is in charge of scrapping it.

When the Liberal Democrats are out of government and unable to stop the Tories from running riot over our civil liberties, we need someone special to hold them to account.

Tim Farron, I am certain, will do this better than any other person will.

On the second point I made, Tim is a devoted supporter of the European Union, of globalisation and of the United Kingdom. A leader who does not dilly-dally about when faced with the question 'Do you support immigration?' is essential if we are to remain true to our core values as liberals. Of course we support immigration. As Tim said himself - "Britain's future relies not on turning the best and brightest from our shores, relies not on attacking migrants, migrants who make a net contribution to our economy, migrants who are less likely to claim benefits than our own citizens. Instead we should be grateful and proud that migrants have chosen to relocate their lives here, and are working to build our economy. These people make Britain great. We should celebrate them, not demonise them."

I agree with Tim that we should focus on making the European Union work rather than dismiss it as some interrupting force.

So back #tim2lead when you cast your vote.

Remember - if you're not a member of the Liberal Democrats now but support Tim, you can still sign up and vote for him before nominations close!