Tim Farron resigns as Liberal Democrat leader

The MP said he should have dealt ‘more wisely’ with questions relating to his faith during the election campaign



Tim Farron has stepped down as the leader of the Liberal Democrats saying it "felt impossible" for him to continue in the role. 

The MP, who is a well-known supporter of Israel, said in a statement he was "torn between living as a faithful Christian and serving as a political leader".

Mr Farron, who became leader of the Lib Dems in July 2015, said he should have dealt "more wisely" with questions relating to his faith during the election campaign, including his views on gay sex.

He insisted he had taken the decision voluntarily and he retained the support of his party.

But there have also been suggestions of  coup against Mr Farron,  who kept his seat of Westmorland and Lonsdale at last week’s general election, although his majority fell from 8,949 to just 777.

The party gained just 12 seats last Thursday – and suffered the shock loss of former  party leader Nick Clegg in Sheffield Hallam.

Mr Farron’s decision to quit followed the resignation of his home affairs spokesman Lord Brian Paddick earlier on Wednesday over the leader's views on gay marriage. 

Lord Paddick, formerly one of the country's most senior gay policemen, said he felt unable to continue in his role because of Mr Farron's views on "various issues".

Throughout the election campaign the Liberal Democrat leader was dogged by questions about his attitude to gay sex after he previously appeared to state the practice was a sin. 

Mr Farron also faced tough questions about his views on abortion after he claimed it was "wrong". 

One senior Liberal Democrat told the Telegraph Mr Farron is "a great guy" but added: "His views are not compatible with being the leader of the Liberal Democrats, he was - on balance - unhelpful during the campaign."

The Lib Dem leader has spoken out strongly in support of Israel saying he held the state “dear as a friend” in the run-up to the election.

Mr Farron said he was “surpised and horrified” that sacked Bradford East David Ward had been reselected to stand in the seat, saying: “As soon as I found out I was able to act.”

Jonathan Arkush, president of the Board of Deputies, praised Mr Farron for tackling antisemitism in Lib Dem ranks.

He said: Tim Farron made admirable progress in reaching out to the Jewish community and in taking action against bigotry in his party. We wish him well and look forward to working with his successor to continue the positive trajectory of engagement with British Jews."


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