Thursday, 18 October, 2018

Tim Farron resigns as leader of Liberal Democrats

Tim Farron REUTERS Clodagh Kilcoyne
Lance Thomas | 15 June, 2017, 01:56

However, he later insisted that he did not believe it was a sin and that, while he believed political leaders should not "pontificate on theological matters", it was right to address the subject as it had become "an issue".

Brian Paddick has quit as Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman citing "concerns" about Tim Farron's views on "various issues".

The Lib Dem peer, formerly the Metropolitan police's deputy assistant commissioner and the UK's most senior gay police officer, has stood as the party's mayoral candidate in past elections.

Farron had reportedly penned a resignation speech for after the general election last week but after the Lib Dems gained some seats in the aftermath, he made a decision to hold off on the announcement. Farron's majority was slashed from more than 9,000 to about 700 votes.

During the campaign, Mr Farron - who is a Christian - was asked repeatedly in media interviews to clarify his views on gay sex but did not, to begin with, answer directly. "Society has to climb down from the position that says there is nothing objectionable about abortion before a certain time".

And it comes just days after Ms Swinson was re-elected to the House of Commons in the 2017 General Election.

Jo Swinson
REUTERS Phil Noble

"The consequences of the focus on my faith is that I have found myself torn between living as a faithful Christian and serving as a political leader", he said.

Mr Farron said that he would carry on as party leader until Parliament breaks for the summer recess next month, when an election for a new leader would be held.

Explaining the move, he stated it was an opportunity to give the party "another powerful voice" following an increase in the number of MPs.

Lord Paddick had represented the Liberal Democrats at an LGBT hustings during the election campaign, co-hosted by Stonewall, PinkNews and Pride in London.

He added: "Now a third of our parliamentary party is female and we have our most diverse group of MPs ever, I feel our MPs form a more representative group to elect a deputy leader". So there will be a leadership contest in the Lib Dems - and more importantly for them, a real debate about what their future should be in a political system which seems to be moving back to the traditional 2-party Con v Lab fight.

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