Cheerful Tim was destined for top job

Tim Farron.
Tim Farron.

New Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron was meant for a leading role in politics – just ask his former boss.

Marion McClintock, who was Mr Farron’s line manager when he worked at Lancaster University, said the Lib Dem head was as adept at diplomacy while working in her office as he is today in Parliament.

Mr Farron, 45, worked at the university from 1992 until 2002, mainly as an administrator for the social sciences faculty board based in Marion’s office.

“He was a very lively character and we enjoyed his company,” said Marion, former Academic Registrar and now honorary archivist and an honorary fellow at the university.

“He was always cheerful and full of passion for politics.He was on Lancashire County Council at the time.

“He did a lot of documentation about courses that were on offer

“At one stage he got involved in moving people to new office space. One of the biggest issues at the university is that we’re always trying to fit people into a smaller space.

“He had to use a lot of tact and diplomacy to negotiate because some people didn’t want to move; the office they had may have had a nicer view!”

Mr Farron replaced Nick Clegg as leader of the Lib Dems on Thursday, defeating Norman Lamb by 4,500 votes in a leadership contest.

“There’s a bit of me that’s quite proud that I’ve helped somebody on their way,” said Marion.

“I wish him all the best in building his party up again.”

Born in Preston, Mr Farron was educated at Lostock Hall High School and Runshaw College, Leyland, before going on to Newcastle University where he gained a BA in Politics in 1992.

After leaving employment at Lancaster University, he also worked at St Martin’s College and in continuing education at the Storey Institute. He served on Lancashire County Council from 1993 to 2000 and as a councillor for the Milnthorpe ward on the South Lakeland District Council from 2004-8.

Mr Farron became member of parliament for Westmorland and Lonsdale in 2005 and retained his seat comfortably in the 2015 elections, one of only eight Liberal Democrat MPs.

He is a former Parliamentary Private Secretary to the then party leader, Menzies Campbell, and was promoted to the Lib Dem Shadow Cabinet in 2007, becoming Shadow Minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Mr Farron also served as President of the Liberal Democrat party from 2011 to 2015.

His campaigns as MP have included fighting on behalf of Westmorland General Hospital in Kendal.

Mr Farron lives in Milnthorpe with his wife Rosie, his daughters Isabella and Gracie and his sons Jude and Laurie.