Tim Farron quits as Liberal Democrat leader over Christian faith

  • Tim Farron quits as Liberal Democrat leader over Christian faith

Tim Farron quits as Liberal Democrat leader over Christian faith

Tim Farron has been the leader of the Liberal Democrats, the third biggest political party in the United Kingdom, for the last two years.

Tim Farron quit as leader of the Liberal Democrats less than a week after the United Kingdom elections saying that he was torn between " between living as a faithful Christian and serving as a political leader".

Mr Farron, who is an evangelical Christian, spent weeks dodging questions about whether he thinks gay sex is a sin before ultimately saying he does not.

Since the General Election, the party also now has more leaders-in-waiting, in the "re-treads" Sir Vince Cable and Sir Ed Davey, than before.

But he said he could no longer reconcile his strong Christian faith with his responsibilities as leader of a liberal party.

However Mr Farron said he was quitting because he was torn between the demands of leading a progressive liberal party and his Christian faith.

Asked why his answer had changed, he said: "I'm quite careful about how I talk about my faith".

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.

But during this campaign, after repeated questions about his religious views, he said: "I don't believe gay sex is a sin".

"To be a political leader".

'At the start of this election, I found myself under scrutiny again - asked about matters to do with my faith.

"And to live as a committed Christian, to hold faithfully to the Bible's teaching, has felt impossible for me", he said.

Liberalism means that I am passionate about defending the right and liberty of people who believe very different things to me.

The few gains the Lib Dems made last week - such as Eastbourne and Oxford West and Abingdon - masked the real disappointment the party felt at their result, writes political correspondent Phil Hornby.

The Lancastrian took over from Nick Clegg after the 2015 election, which saw the Lib Dems suffer near-total wipeout after being in government with the Conservatives for the previous five years.

Jo Swinson, the former coalition minister who regained her East Dumbartonshire seat at the election, will be the early front-runner to replace him.