POLITICS
21/06/2015 17:40 BST | Updated 21/06/2015 17:59 BST

Tim Farron Says History Will Be 'Kind' To Nick Clegg In Lib Dem Leadership Campaign Video

History will be "kind" to Nick Clegg, the frontrunner in the race to replace the former deputy prime minister as Liberal Democrat leader has predicted.

Ballot papers will be sent out to the party's nearly 60,000 members this week and on Monday Tim Farron will launch his main leadership campaign video. Which you can watch first on The Huffington Post above.

It comes as the hopes of the other candidate for the top job, Norman Lamb, took a serious hit. The former coalition health minister has been forced to suspended two campaign staff over allegations they had conducted "push polling" designed to leave party members with an unfairly negative impression of Farron.

It is understood Lamb is also likely to be referred to the information commissioner tomorrow amid fears within the party that the unauthorised use of Lib Dem members' details could be a breach of data protection law. A Lib Dem source said the incident could result in criminal charges for those involved.

In his campaign video, Farron says: "I want to be the person you wake up to in the morning on the today programme. And see in the newspapers and see on the TV. Someone who makes you proud to be a Lib Dem.

"History will be very kind to Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems I am certain. I can't think of many other examples where a political movement has risked its own success and event survival for the sake of the country."

In the video, which shows Farron campaigning in his constituency, the Westmorland and Lonsdale MP says liberalism is “not going to die on my watch”.

He adds: “Comeback, survival, a revival, it never happens by accident, only be design. That's why we need, as a party, to concentrate on winning. There is nothing grubby about winning elections. You win elections because you can change people's lives. You start from the bottom up, with your grassroots campaign. You make sure you find a place on the political map that is yours and only yours.”

The row over the misuse of party data is particularly embarrassing for the Lib Dems given the party's commitment to civil liberties. A tactic common in the United States, "push polling" involves voters being contacted and told untruths about a rival candidate and then asked for their view on it - planting the smear in the mind of the voter.

Lamb said his campaign staff acted without his authority and apologised. “I will not tolerate breaches such as this on my campaign. My campaign manager immediately reported the issue to the acting returning officer, Tim Gordon. I took immediate action to suspend the two individuals from further involvement in the campaign," he said.

Farron said on Twitter: "This leadership election is about ideas, policies & principles. I've accepted @normanlamb's apology and we must move on. We are one family."

Since the election, which saw the Lib Dems drop from 56 MPs to just eight, there has been a surge in membership applications to the party. However the new members also introduce a element of unpredictability into the leadership contest, as neither side is clear which candidate new members will back.