LONDON (AP) — Britain's centrist Liberal Democrat party on Thursday elected Tim Farron — one of eight Lib Dem lawmakers remaining after an electoral drubbing in May — as the party's new leader.

The party announced Thursday that the 45-year-old had received 19,137 votes from party members compared with 14,760 for rival Norman Lamb.

Farron said his task was to "turn millions of liberals throughout the U.K. into Liberal Democrats." But he leads a decimated, demoralized party.

The Liberal Democrats were the junior party in Britain's Conservative-led government from 2010 to May 2015 — alienating many supporters who saw the party back policies it had previously opposed, including higher university tuition fees.

Britain's May 7 national election reduced the Lib Dems from 56 seats in Parliament to eight. Most of the party's best-known figures lost their seats and former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg resigned as party leader.