Liberal leader Tim Farron tells conference about his Preston roots

Leader of the Liberal Democrats,Tim Farron arrives at Bournemouth International Centre to deliver his keynote speech  at the Liberal Democrats annual conference. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday September, 23, 2015. Photo credit should read: Ben Birchall/PA Wire
Leader of the Liberal Democrats,Tim Farron arrives at Bournemouth International Centre to deliver his keynote speech at the Liberal Democrats annual conference. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday September, 23, 2015. Photo credit should read: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has spoken about his upbringing in Preston at the party’s conference.

Mr Farron opened his speech at the event in Bournemouth by telling how he joined the party - and formed a band - the week he started Runshaw College in Leyland.

The Westmorland and Lonsdale MP joked his old college pals had asked him to reform the group and audition for X Factor, a show he watches with his family.

He said: “I’m assuming you may have seen the (band) photos.

“The only good thing I can say is that because the photos are pre-digital they are so low resolution that you can’t make out the eyeliner.

“My mates from the band are still my mates. Our keyboard player rang me up a couple of weeks ago - he said, ‘Tim - we should reform, enter X Factor next year’.

“I said, one: we’re 45, two: I’m a bit busy, three: we’re still rubbish! So you will be pleased to learn that my relationship with X Factor will remain as being merely a viewer ... just for the kids of course.”

Mr Farron also spoke about how he grew up in a terraced house in Preston “on or below the breadline”, but was inspired to work hard and do well by his parents.

He said his mum worked at a Preston department store before studying to become a secretary then an academic.

Mr Farron used his speech to pay tribute to late Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy, who died in May, and promised to rebuild the party in his honour.

He said: “Charles’s death has robbed us of the sharpest mind, the wittiest tongue and the nicest bloke.”

He also branded Prime Minister David Cameron’s response to the refugee crisis as “pitiful.”