That's thumb kind of clapping! Ex-Lib Dem leader Tim Farron half-heartedly applauds using just his THUMBS after new boss Jo Swinson's speech

  • Tim Farron decided to take a modest approach to applause after being praised
  • The Westmorland MP, 49, led the party from 2015 to 2017 before standing down
  • The restrained gesture was noticed by people watching the live broadcast

He was being praised for his attitude to Brexit when he was Lib Dem leader by his successor Jo Swinson.

But Tim Farron decided to take a minimalist approach to applause after the tributes in her speech - by clapping with just his thumbs. 

The Westmorland MP, 49, who led the party from 2015 to 2017, was restrained in his reaction to the address given by Ms Swinson at the annual conference in Bournemouth.

In a speech heavy on the party's decision to campaign to abolish Brexit she paid tribute to his actions in the aftermath of the 2016 referendum, which occurred while he was leader. 

In a speech in which she also praised predecessors Paddy Ashdown and Vince Cable, she said: 'Tim, who in the days after the European Referendum, knew that our natural place as a party was to unashamedly make the case for Britain to stay in the European Union. 

'Tim, you were absolutely right.'

 It was noticed by people on Twitter watching the live broadcast.

In her speech (pictured) Ms Swinson said Mr Farron 'knew that our natural place as a party was to unashamedly make the case for Britain to stay in the European Union'

In her speech (pictured) Ms Swinson said Mr Farron 'knew that our natural place as a party was to unashamedly make the case for Britain to stay in the European Union'

Westmorland MP Mr Farron, 49, (pictured yesterday in Bournemouth) led the party from 2015 to 2017 before standing down

Westmorland MP Mr Farron, 49, (pictured yesterday in Bournemouth) led the party from 2015 to 2017 before standing down

Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson lashed out at 'insular, closed and selfish' Brexiteers today as she branded Brexit 'the fight of our lives for the heart and soul of Britain'.

In her maiden leadership speech she tore into 'entitled Etonian' Boris Johnson and '1970s socialist' Jeremy Corbyn over their positions on the UK's departure from the EU.  

She accused the Prime Minister of acting like a 'socialist dictator' over Brexit by shutting down dissent and 'purging' his opponents in the Conservative party. 

But it came after she and her party were themselves accused of being undemocratic, after they voted overwhelmingly to revoke Article 50 and halt Brexit without a new referendum if they win a general election.

Addressing the party faithful in Bournemouth, Ms Swinson said: 'At the next general election, voters will choose the sort of country we want to be.

'Insular, closed and selfish, or collaborative, open and generous. 

'A politics of fear, hate and division, or one of respect, hope and inclusion.'

She added: 'Ahead of us we have the fight of our lives for the heart and soul of Britain.'

With her mother Annette Swinson and husband Duncan Hames watching from the front row she also tore into the Prime Minister's decision to prorogue Parliament, which is the subject of a landmark Supreme Court case.

And she waded into the expulsion of 21 Tory MPs after the voted to block a No Deal Brexit, which prompted one, Sam Gyimah, to join the Lib Dems this weekend.

Ms Swinson's husband Duncan Hames was in the front row for the speech at the Lib Dem conference in Bournemouth. Ms Swinson added: 'Ahead of us we have the fight of our lives for the heart and soul of Britain' as she addressed the party conference

Ms Swinson's husband Duncan Hames was in the front row for the speech at the Lib Dem conference in Bournemouth. Ms Swinson added: 'Ahead of us we have the fight of our lives for the heart and soul of Britain' as she addressed the party conference

Ms Swinson, who took over as leader from Sir Vince Cable in July, said: '(Boris Johnson) kicked 21 MPs out of the Conservative party, including the Father of the House Ken Clarke, and Churchill's grandson Nicholas Soames, just because they dared to stand up to him.

'There is even now the suggestion that he would break the law and refuse to ask for an extension to Article 50.

'Silencing critics. Purging opponents. Ignoring the law.

'For someone who proclaims to hate socialist dictators, he's doing a pretty good impression of one.'

And of Mr Corbyn he said: 'Even now, when faced with all the clear and obvious dangers that Brexit brings, Jeremy Corbyn still insists that if Labour win a General Election, they will negotiate their own Brexit deal to take us out of the EU.

'Nigel Farage might be Brexit by name, but it is very clear that Jeremy Corbyn is Brexit by nature.'

Despite the result of the 2016 referendum, the Liberal Democrats are now committed to revoking Article 50 immediately if they win the next general election. 

If the Lib Dems, who have only 18 MPs, do not win the next election, they would continue to push for a second referendum. 

The pledge prompted condemnation, including from some of the party's own MPs and peers. 

 

That's thumb kind of clapping! Ex-Lib Dem leader Tim Farron's bizarre single-digit applause

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