Tim Farron reveals talks with Labour figures after Corbyn win
The Liberal Democrat leader said the conversations “may or may not be conclusive” in terms of defections, but that many Labour members “feel deeply distressed” after the election of the left-wing Mr Corbyn.
“I’ve had various unsolicited texts, some of them over the weekend, where I felt like I was being an agony aunt rather than anything else,” Mr Farron told the Evening Standard.
“People who have been members of the [Labour] party for as long as I’ve been a member of mine who feel that they don’t recognise their party anymore and feel deeply distressed.”
He said “some” of those who contacted him were well-known Labour figures, but refused to be drawn on whether they were frontbenchers.
“I couldn’t possibly comment,” he said.
“The bottom line is,... people in the Labour party need to understand they can have conversations with me, which may or may not be conclusive, which will remain totally between me and them.”
The choice of Mr Corbyn as Labour leader left the Liberal Democrats with a “quite staggering opportunity” to occupy the centre ground, Mr Farron added.
One of Labour’s biggest donors in the last parliament suggested today he would consider funding MPs that wanted to defect to the Lib Dems or start a new party.
“I will do anything I can if I am convinced they can form a strong opposition”, Assem Allam told the Times.
“You’ll never have a strong opposition with this regime. I did warn Ed Miliband many times that if you go to the left side, you’ll lose an election and he did.”