Farron told the Guardian during the campaign that he did not think he would be receiving the same level of scrutiny of his religious beliefs if he were Jewish or Muslim, and that people who were concerned his faith would affect his ability to lead a liberal party should “look more carefully into what liberalism really is”.

The former party president beat opponent Norman Lamb by 56.5% to 43.5% on a 56% turnout in the contest to replace Nick Clegg.

Mr Farron will address hundreds of party members at a victory rally at Islington Assembly Hall in London this evening.

Instead of resurrecting the threshold, Farron said he wanted to “shift the balance of taxation away from income and on to wealth”.

Tim Farron has been elected as the new leader of the Liberal Democrats, beating rival Norman Lamb.

“We start our plan for the 2020 election right now”. The party has been reduced from 57 MPs to just eight (the same number as the DUP) and has become a byword for opportunism and hypocrisy following its time in government. Tim is a gifted communicator, and someone who will inspire and motivate people to join the liberal cause and to get involved in politics.

He said he had been “completely gutted” the day after the general election, when Lib Dem colleagues who had given “blood, sweat and tears” lost their seats.

Influential party figure Paddy Ashdown said: “Tim has fought a great campaign in which he showed all the gifts to be a very fine leader”.

His track-record as a campaigning MP suggests that he may be able to carve out a more distinctive ideological position for his party, and his leadership may also manage to restore a feel-good factor to the grassroots which was largely absent during the years of coalition government.

Farron said his task was to “turn millions of liberals throughout the United Kingdom into Liberal Democrats”.

So, assuming that voters remain, at heart, cautious, small c conservative in nature, and self-interested, there is a gap in the market for a party that espouses the rhetoric of what we know as New Labour.

But if Farron’s critique of the coalition won him plenty of admirers among activists, it did not always win him friends among his parliamentary colleagues.

“A new beginning for the Liberal Democrats means regaining trust, speaking up for liberalism and winning again”.

“The Liberal Democrats have built up substantial economic and financial credibility”.