Despite being endorsed by two former leaders, including Paddy Ashdown, and veteran Shirley Williams, the former health minister did not manage to secure enough votes from the 60,000 members who were eligible to vote.

Mr Farron beat fellow Lib Dem Norman Lamb in the contest to replace Nick Clegg, with 56.5% of the votes cast.

When I spoke Farron earlier this week, he revealed that his first job will be to move the leader’s office from the Houses of Parliament to party headquarters.

“Picking fights over core liberal issues such as civil liberties and the environment, which the Conservatives seem intent on trashing, and speaking with the most authentically pro-Europe voice in the European Union referendum, all underpinned by a responsible economic policy, seems like the best route for my party to follow”.

Commenting on the leadership election, Liberal Democrat Party President Sal Brinton said: “Both Tim and Norman ran distinctively liberal, strong campaigns that spoke to party members across the UK”. 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.

The long-standing former Fife MP, who stepped down at the last general election, backed Mr Lamb for the leadership saying he was the more “considered politician” than Mr Farron.

He said during the campaign: “We have got to be the party that stands up for the powerless and that will motivate us to work hard”.

The Sheffield Hallam MP resigned from the job after the Lib Dems lost 49 seats. “So we are going to build the mother of all fightbacks”.

The party announced the leadership result on Twitter and Facebook.

“Tim is a fantastic communicator and his energy, enthusiasm and passion will inspire and drive the Liberal Democrats back to winning ways”.

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. He has a huge task but also, truly, a great opportunity.

“I suspect he would not be seen as a very credible leader, at least now”, added Vince Cable.