Lib Dem peer resigns over Farron's views on homosexuality

Palace of Westminster

Palace of Westminster

Farron had said his party would not support either May's Conservatives or the opposition Labour Party in forming a government after last week's election left no outright victor.

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

His resignation means that he follows Ukip's Paul Nuttall as the second party leader to resign in the wake of the election result.

The self-confessed Christian evangelist had been repeatedly asked about how his faith affects his politics, and specifically on homosexuality in the lead up to the snap General Election that took place on 8 June.

It has since been suggested that the peer was referring to Mr Farron's views on gay sex.

Farron said he had felt "torn" between political and religious life after facing questioning over whether he agreed with his party's positive view of same-sex unions.

"Tim grew the party at a crucial time and he will always be rightly remembered for that".

Farron said he is unable to continue because he is too torn between his Christian faith and his duties as a political leader.

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

Farron stresses he does not believe Christians should "impose the tenets of faith on society", saying that view was "not liberal and it is counterproductive when it comes to advancing the gospel". 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.

"Even so, I seem to have been the subject of suspicion because of what I believe, and who my faith is in".

"And that is why I have chosen to step down as the leader of the Liberal Democrats".

He has previously served as the party's acting leader and deputy leader.

While the Lib Dems endured a disappointing General Election - gaining just three seats - Mr Farron's position had not been thought to be under immediate threat.

But the early favourite with the bookies is Jo Swinson, who was a junior minister in the Coalition government.

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