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Tim Farron quits as Lib Dem leader

Tim Farron quits as Lib Dem leader

TIM Farron has resigned as Lib Dems leader after less than two years after claiming it is "impossible" to be a devoted Christian and run the liberal party.

In a speech to staff at the party's London headquarters, Mr Farron said: "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".

An evangelical Christian, Farron was quizzed during the campaign about his views on whether he believed gay sex was a sin rather than on his socially progressive policies, which included legalizing cannabis. The party gained four seats from the eight it won in 2015, though several MPs lost their seats, including the former party leader Nick Clegg and Richmond Park byelection victor Sarah Olney.

Mr Farron faced intense criticism during the election campaign for failing to answer questions about his position on homosexuality.

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

"A better, wiser person may have been able to deal with this more successfully, to remain faithful to Christ while leading a political party in the current environment".

Lord Paddick took to Twitter to announce he was stepping down from the party's frontbench, amid concerns around Lib Dem leader Tim Farron's views "on various issues" in the election campaign.

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

"In the last parliament we didn't have any women in our parliamentary party and we didn't feel it was right to elect a deputy in those circumstances", Mr Farron said.

"This is a really positive time for our party".

I intend to serve until the parliamentary recess begins next month, at which point there will be a leadership election according to the party's rules.

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

Returning Twickenham MP Vince Cable, former Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, has been tipped as one of the favourites to take over from Mr Farron.


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