Tim Farron said: “I don’t want to sound overconfident, but we will be proved right within two years. Hopefully, by 9 June. But if we are proved right, at the latest by 2019, then things can change, can’t they?”
He added: “I think it will win seats by the way, and we have seen progress, but my motivation is to a degree whether I can look my kids in the eye and say I did everything I could.”
While the party, which takes a hard remain stance to the European Union, initially benefitted from support from areas like Richmond Park, which it won in a byelection last year – largely pro-EU, wealthy areas – it has seen its support slide in recent weeks, dipping below double figures.
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron campaigns in the Lake District
The party’s former leader and one-time Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg admittedly last week that it was “politically tough” going for the party which had put a second referendum on Brexit – choice between accepting a negotiated deal on withdrawal at the end of the process or remaining in the EU – as a key election pledge.
This comes amid the latest indications that the result of any referendum appeared to be slipping down the voters’ agendas.
A recent YouGov poll about Brexit suggested that dissatisfied retainers only made up a quarter of voters with the rest having come to accept Brexit was inevitable.
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Jeremy Corbyn during a visit to Hackney Marshes Football Pitches, to highlight Labour's manifesto commitment to ensure 5% of the Premier League's television rights income is diverted to the grassroots game, during a General Election campaign
I don’t want to sound overconfident, but we will be proved right within two years. Hopefully, by 9 June. But if we are proved right, at the latest by 2019, then things can change
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron
The Conservatives are also expected to refocus their collapsing fortunes on the Brexit negotiations as they look to revive their flagging campaign with their initial double-digit lead crumbling away as the days have gone by.
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While the Lib Dems are confident of taking seats such as Cambridge, Twickenham in south-west London, and even Vauxhall, held by the Labour Brexiter K
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron is presented with a birthday cake and card
The Lib Dems’ traditional heartland in the south-west, where almost all of its historically safe seats were lost to the Tories in 2015, voted heavily for Brexit.
Mr Farron said: “Leavers and remainers are more nebulous terms. There’s been a churn in both directions.
“We are saying, ‘however you voted, let’s not fear the other side but look at what’s ahead, a deal we don’t know anything about yet’.
“And what does it mean for closure and democracy if we just end up having something imposed on us, which will be inevitably a Brussels stitch-up because they will have just as much say as our government? Then leavers will be as angry as remainers.”
Mr Farron added: “I think we are beginning to see with the polls, if they mean anything at all, that to assume the Ukip vote goes directly to the Tories is simplistic.”
The 47-year-old Lib Dem leader also attacked Labour saying that their MPs were “leakier than a leaky sieve”.
Tim Farron takes a walk with his dog in the Lake District
According to Mr Farron, Labour were racking up votes in places where they don’t actually need them” and ruled out taking the party into a coalition under Jeremy Corbyn.
He said: “No deals, no pacts with anyone. It’s important to have that clarity. We think people should know when they vote Lib Dem that they are not doing it as a proxy for anybody else.”