“Congratulations, damn it!” This is the note Sal Brinton’s father, Tim, the former Conservative MP for Gravesham, sent with a bunch of flowers to his daughter when she was first elected as a Liberal Democrat councillor in 1993.
“Engagement in politics is more important than having rows in the family over what you believe in,” Brinton chuckles after telling me this story. “I think that’s the one thing we agreed on!”
And there has been plenty more in the Lib Dem peer’s career to congratulate her on. Following her work in floor management at the BBC having studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama, Brinton has long been an influential figure in liberal politics. She reached the House of Lords in February 2011, and has recently been elected party president. She replaced Tim Farron MP in this role at the beginning of the year, defeating two other candidates and winning 10,188 votes in the final result.
Farron – the media-friendly imp popular with the left flank of his party – treated the role as a mouthpiece for the Lib Dem party faithful, often straying off-message to the delight of many of his fellow Lib Dem MPs frustrated and constrained by coalition with the Tories.
The full interview is here