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Tim Farron - Leader of the Liberal DemocratsThe Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.

We champion the freedom, dignity and well-being of individuals, we acknowledge and respect their right to freedom of conscience and their right to develop their talents to the full. We aim to disperse power, to foster diversity and to nurture creativity.

We believe that the role of the state is to enable all citizens to attain these ideals, to contribute fully to their communities and to take part in the decisions which affect their lives.

If you agree with us, why not join the #LibDemFightback today.

  • Conference agenda
    Article: Aug 2, 2015
    By Caron Lindsay in Liberal Democrat Voice

    5 days, 15 policy motions, 8 keynote speeches and some very important consultation sessions

    The outline agenda for the Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference in Bournemouth has been published and in it there is a great deal to interest and excite the members both old and new who will be heading to the seaside town. I am really looking forward to it because I have never been to Bourmemouth before.

  • House
    Article: Aug 2, 2015
    By Emily Davey in Liberal Democrat Voice

    It's not only the Tory crackdown on tax credits for families that will hit the working poor: it's the Conservatives' multiple mistakes on social housing that will do the most damage to our society. The problem is, these are less well-understood. Yet added together, they are set to cause a social housing sector crash almost comparable to the banking crash.

  • EU flags
    Article: Aug 2, 2015
    By Lucy Thomas - Campaign Director of Business for New Europe in City AM

    President Obama's carefully chosen words last week are a reminder of what is at stake in the forthcoming referendum on Britain's place in Europe.

    Known to be a cautious and contemplative leader, the President spoke directly to the British people with a very clear message: the UK's membership of the European Union "gives us much greater confidence about the strength of the transatlantic union".

    In short, Britain is stronger inside Europe than it would be outside it.

    For 50 years, a stated strand of UK foreign policy has been to wield influence abroad through our status in Brussels, and in part this approach has helped Britain remain at the forefront of world affairs.

    It now seems unthinkable to foreign leaders that Britain would put that status at risk by closing the door on Europe, at a time when the threats we face are less predictable and more diverse than ever.

    The EU matters to our global status because it is a diplomatic force-multiplier, making what is already great about the UK even more relevant to our partners around the world. In an era when consumers in China and Brazil have financial muscle equivalent to all of Europe's put together, it makes no sense for Britain to cut itself off from its nearest partners and allies.

    British business wins from this increase in our clout. By being part of the world's largest economic bloc, we gain power in global trade talks. The EU is negotiating the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) free trade deal with the United States, which could be worth £10bn a year to our economy. The EU-South Korea trade agreement, signed in 2011, helped deliver an 82 per cent increase in our exports to that country.

    As the Prime Minister made clear on his visit to Asia last week, the potential deal between the EU and ASEAN could "turbocharge" our economy and be worth £3bn to the UK.

    But ever since we joined, those people who are determined to see Britain abandon its European partners have tried to argue that our relationship with allies around the world is incompatible with EU membership.

    They claim that being inside the EU prevents Britain from having stronger trade and diplomatic relationships with other parts of the world, particularly the Anglosphere. Indeed, some of them believe that the UK should simply become a North Atlantic Singapore, floating between Europe and America issue-by-issue.

    This is, and always has been, a false choice. Europe is not a competitor to the foreign policy of its member states, it is a complement.

    And those who argue for Britain to ditch Europe in favour of closer transatlantic links have not woken up to the realities of our modern interconnected world.

    There are countless examples both of the UK benefitting from the EU's external work, and of the United States giving the EU its wholehearted backing to play an active role in diplomacy and humanitarian missions.

    Whether it's the nuclear deal with Iran, our common approach to President Putin's aggression, or leading the international community's response to the Ebola crisis, Europe and America together have proven the benefits of cooperation between states on pressing global challenges.

    Of course, the EU should never be a substitute for the UK's own diplomatic and military capabilities. Indeed it can't be, as the global footprint of the UK Foreign Office alone is double the size of the EU's "External Action Service" both in terms of personnel and locations, and the UK spends close to three times more than the EU does on diplomacy.

    But equally, we cannot afford to ignore the benefits of acting in concert when it is in Britain's interests, nor should we underestimate the degree to which other EU states follow Britain's lead when it comes to diplomacy and security.

    In fact, a recent report from the European Council on Foreign Relations found that Britain holds more power over European foreign policy than any other country except Germany, saying that "the UK has far more clout as part of the EU collective than it does alone".

    So if Britain is serious about competing in the global race, saying "no" to Europe would be like falling at the first hurdle, harming our influence and damaging our alliances.

    Those who want us to vote to leave the EU in the forthcoming referendum now have a responsibility to set out the reality of a life for Britain outside of Europe.

  • John Marriott
    Article: Aug 2, 2015
    By Cllr John Marriott - Lincoln, Sleaford and North Hykeham in The Lincolnite

    The article entitled 'The Clegg catastrophe' which appeared recently in a national newspaper, should be essential reading, in my humble opinion, for anyone who really believes that liberal ideas have a role to play in our society but are devastated that the work over the past forty years appears to have landed the party more or less back to where it started. There are some clear lessons to be learned; but the source of the difficulties for the Liberal Democrat Party, which, although always inevitably representing a minority view of life, managed for many years to punch above its weight, lies further in the past than the tuition fees debacle.

  • Article: Aug 1, 2015

    Late last week Helen Duffett sat down to interview Tim Farron after he became party leader.

    You can watch the interview here:

  • Paul Reynolds Autumn Conference 09
    Article: Aug 1, 2015
    By Paul Reynolds in Liberal Democrat Voice

    New members often ask how to find out what current policy is, on a wide range of topics, how to influence or 'input' on policy, and indeed what the party does with its policy once it is established.

    Normally I explain that in policy Conference is supreme, at least in theory. I talk a bit about Policy Working Groups (PWGs), initiated by the Federal Policy Committee, FPC. I also explain that there is a review of policymaking underway, to be discussed at Autumn Conference.

  • Israel Palestine
    Article: Jul 31, 2015
    By Guy Burton in Liberal Democrat Voice

    The general impression seems to be no. Last year's failed talks by US Secretary of State, John Kerry, and the re-election of an intransigent Netanyahu government have meant little change. Although the BRICS countries (and the EU) have called for a different, more multilateral response, this is unlikely to happen. Much of this is down to BRICS' self-promotion and separation of political rhetoric from their prioritisation of economic relations with Israel's hi-tech and - especially in the case of India - arms industry.

  • Government Department for International Development
    Article: Jul 31, 2015

    All the unpleasantness of the last few days' reaction to the ongoing Calais crisis is perhaps just a taste of the difficult challenge it will be for Liberals to uphold decency in the coming years. In my view, the best way to form a powerfully Liberal stance on this issue is to reinforce to the public that the solution to this crisis, as well as others (Islamic extremism, the environment etc.) lies in a field of policy often neglected by mainstream debate: International Development. But for us to form that policy, we must face some difficult home truths.

  • Article: Jul 30, 2015

    Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has responded to the Prime Minister's remarks on the Calais migrant crisis. David Cameron said today that the UK will not become a "safe haven" for a "swarm of people coming across the Mediterranean".

    Tim Farron said,

    By blaming 'migrant swarms' for the current crisis in Calais David Cameron risks dehumanising some of the world's most desperate people. We are talking about human beings here, not insects.

    Of course, we need to improve security at the tunnel to protect our borders and stop migrants from dying on the tracks but we also need to address the wider humanitarian issue too.

    This means as a country we should accept our fair share of refugees by signing up to the EU asylum policy, rather than expecting others to do it for us. If Ireland can sign up to the scheme why can't we?

    By using the Prime Minister's language we lose sight of how desperate someone has to be to cling to the bottom of a lorry or train for the chance of a better life.

  • Tim Farron Leader
    Article: Jul 30, 2015
    By Tim Farron MP in Huffington Post

    This week sees the launch of FreedomToDonate - a massively important campaign to review the discriminatory rules on blood donation in the UK. And I'm thrilled to put my support behind it, because the existing rules - which bar sexually active gay men, along with anyone who has ever injected drugs, or had sex for payment - are scientifically and socially outdated, deeply and unjustly stigmatising, and urgently need to change.