Author Archives: Caron Lindsay

Party organisations comment on resignation of Tim Farron

Two party organisations have commented on the resignation of Tim Farron.

LGBT+ Lib Dems highlight Tim Farron’s record as a friend of LGBT rights but note that his failure to adequately answer the questions on gay sex “cast a shadow on the campaign.”

Nonetheless, LGBT+ Lib Dems were at the forefront of the efforts to defend Tim based on his proven track record of friendship and support for our rights.

During Tim’s time as leader, the Liberal Democrats passed the most far reaching policy any party has ever had in favour of trans equality. In addition, he has been vocal on ending the “Blood Ban” on some people giving blood based on prejudices about their sexual behavior, and was the first party leader to speak out against human rights abuses against gay men in Chechnya.

We recognise that many of our LGBT+ members are also people of faith, and firmly believe that the Liberal Democrats should be a place open and tolerant for people of all faiths and none, just as much as it should be a place for people of all sexualities and genders. These are values that Tim has always stood for, and we would like to place on record our thanks to him, and to wish him all the best for the future.

We look forward to continuing our work with our new leader, once they are elected, promoting PrEP for all that want it, X gender markers on passports, and extending civil partnerships to all couples, amongst many other issues.

In the same statement, they also pay tribute to Brian Paddick for his work as Shadow Home Secretary and say that they don’t believe that he was part of an organised plot to oust Tim.

They conclude:

We very much hope and intend there to be space for all of us in the Liberal tradition when commenting on the matter, and as an organisation we will continue to offer our support to both Brian and Tim.

Humanist and Secularist Lib Dems praise Tim Farron’s record and say that it is his actions rather than personal beliefs that matter:

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Jo Swinson confirmed as Lib Dem Deputy Leader

In news that will surprise nobody, Jo Swinson has been confirmed as the Liberal Democrats’ new Deputy Leader.

Sal Brinton just posted the news in a tweet:

She must have been the only nominee at the close of nominations. Had there been a contest, there would have been a hustings at next week’s Parliamentary party meeting.

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How does the party recover after a bruising week?

Three days on and I’m still utterly livid at the way in which Tim Farron was forced to resign on Wednesday. His own searingly heartfelt and at times confusing resignation statement has raised more questions than it answered and I know that some LGBT people in the party, particularly LGBT Christians in the party are bewildered and upset by that.

Tim doesn’t have a homophobic bone in his body. He loves people, all people and cares deeply about the issues which affect their life chances. He has argued for the fight for LGBT rights to be advanced in various ways because he knows that that is the right thing to do.

The snap election was a bit of a perfect storm for him. The Tories, who hadn’t really tried to win Westmorland in 2015, upped the ante, so as well as representing the party around the country, he had a fight on his beloved home patch which he only narrowly won. The election was too soon to be properly about Brexit and because neither the other two parties nor the media wanted to scare any horses, so our unique position was not as known or appealing as it would have been in a couple of years time. That, of course, is why Theresa May took the gamble she did.

In trying to piece together the events of this week, I hear, though, that Tim had returned to Westminster in a positive mood. Friendly sources close to him tell me that he had pretty much decided that he wouldn’t fight another election and would have stepped down in an orderly fashion in the not too distant future.

Unfortunately, certain of our peers couldn’t wait for that to play out. Tim had come under criticism from them at their Parliamentary Party meeting and some of them felt that action was required sooner rather than later. On Wednesday afternoon, it seemed that a concerted effort to get rid of Tim was under way when Brian Paddick resigned as Shadow Home Secretary. (Update 9:40 pm)Lord Paddick in the comments below denies involvement in any concerted action but others did make public attempts to undermine Tim Farron). The day before, Liz Barker, who is not a supporter of Tim’s, retweeted an article saying that Tim needed to go, saying it was something to think about. Anthony Lester, or at least his office, responded to Paddick’s tweet announcing his resignation by saying that we needed a change of leader. 

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Alistair Carmichael is to be the Lib Dem Chief Whip

In an interview with his local paper The Orcadian, Alistair Carmichael ruled himself out of standing for the leadership, saying:

“It is difficult enough juggling the demands of having a family in Orkney and living between there, London and Shetland, without making it more complication.

“I think there are other things that I can do that add value to the party’s efforts, rather than be leader.

He revealed what that would involve, too. He’s going to go back to the role he had during the early Coalition years – as Chief Whip.

That role will be very different now. Then, he had to …

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+++BREAKING: Tim Farron resigns

Tim Farron has stepped down as Liberal Democrat leader. In a searing speech, he said:

The text is below:

This last two years have seen the Liberal Democrats recover since the devastation of the 2015 election.

That recovery was never inevitable but we have seen the doubling of our party membership, growth in council elections, our first parliamentary by-election win for more than a decade, and most recently our growth at the 2017 general election.

Most importantly the Liberal Democrats have established ourselves with a significant and distinctive role – passionate about Europe, free trade, strong well-funded public services underpinned by a growing market economy.

No one else occupies that space.  Against all the odds, the Liberal Democrats matter again.

We can be proud of the progress we have made together, although there is much more we need to do.

From the very first day of my leadership, I have faced questions about my Christian faith.  I’ve tried to answer with grace and patience.  Sometimes my answers could have been wiser.

At the start of this election, I found myself under scrutiny again – asked about matters to do with my faith.  I felt guilty that this focus was distracting attention from our campaign, obscuring our message.

Journalists have every right to ask what they see fit.  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.

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

To be a political leader – especially of a progressive, liberal party in 2017 – and to live as a committed Christian, to hold faithfully to the Bible’s teaching, has felt impossible for me.

I’m a liberal to my finger tips, and that liberalism means that I am passionate about defending the rights and liberties of people who believe different things to me.

There are Christians in politics who take the view that they should impose the tenets of faith on society, but I have not taken that approach because I disagree with it – it’s not liberal and it is counterproductive when it comes to advancing the gospel.

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

In which case we are kidding ourselves if we think we yet live in a tolerant, liberal society.

That’s why I have chosen to step down as leader of the Liberal Democrats.

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.

This is a historic time in British politics. What happens in the next months and years will shape our country for generations.

My successor will inherit a party that is needed now more than ever before. Our future as an open, tolerant and united country is at stake.

The cause of British liberalism has never been needed more. People who will fight for a Britain that is confident, generous and compassionate are needed more than ever before.

That is the challenge our party and my successor faces and the opportunity I am certain that they will rise to.

I want to say one more thing: I joined our party when I was 16, it is in my blood, I love our history, our people, I thoroughly love my party.

Imagine how proud I am to lead this party.  And then imagine what would lead me to voluntarily relinquish that honour.

In the words of Isaac Watts it would have to be something ‘so amazing, so divine, (it) demands my heart, my life, my all’.

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Brian Paddick resigns as Lib Dem Shadow Home Secretary

Lib Dem Peer Brian Paddick has resigned from his position as Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary. Brian, a former Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, has always been a credible and authoritative voice on matters pertaining to crime, terrorism and civil liberties. The party owes him a debt of gratitude for his work in the role.

It’s the fashion these days to use Twitter to make announcements. In a tweet this afternoon, Brian said:

He doesn’t specify what particular views, but speculation centres around the issues around gay sex and abortion. Tim’s voting record on these issues is pretty clear and he’s made it plain that he is 100% in favour of LGBT equality. This matters to too many people I love so I certainly couldn’t support a leader I didn’t trust to do the right thing on these issues. In any event, I don’t think Tim’s views or record had changed since Brian had accepted the role, so I am perplexed by the timing. Unless…

I may be completely wrong here, but I’m starting to suspect that some things which have happened over the past few weeks have not been entirely random. There’s always been a sense that those few in the party who don’t like Tim have been biding their time. I’m hearing reports of conversations being initiated during the election campaign by a few people who did not support Tim last time. Those conversations were spookily similar, as if they were sticking to a script, covering a few key points that people wanted to get across. Indeed, I had more than one person say them to me.

Yesterday, Lib Dem Peer Liz Barker retweeted an article calling on Tim to go:

And today, the Twitter account of the Political Office of Lord Anthony Lester said this in response to Brian’s tweet:

So far, this activity appears to be confined to people who have never been Tim’s biggest fans. Certainly, I am hearing from sources close to Tim that they are “unfazed” by what’s happening. Let’s hope that this is an end to it and that we don’t spend the next few months turning in on ourselves.  That would not be a good look. 

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WATCH: Nick Clegg’s concession speech: We need to reach out to each other and heal divisions

Having spent all Thursday night at the count, I’ve been catching up on the results programmes to see how the extraordinary night unfolded.

I’m still pretty devastated that we’ve lost the country’s foremost authority on matters European from Parliament when we most need him.

Here is his typically gracious concession speech, in which he talks about the importance of people from all parties reaching out to each other to heal the division in the country. I suspect he would have said exactly the same thing if he had won.

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarIan 27th Jun - 9:45pm
    There are better things, as well. And rather more of them.
  • User AvatarPeter Watson 27th Jun - 9:41pm
    I'm surprised that there is no mention of Hinkley Point C here, particularly given its recent news coverage.
  • User AvatarHuw Dawson 27th Jun - 9:38pm
    Sir Vince the Invincible! No MP dare challenge him! I have no problem with him leading the party right now - he's a good fit...
  • User AvatarTonyH 27th Jun - 9:30pm
    Noel, this is an interesting, thoughtful article and I have a lot of time for the idea that we need to be careful how we...
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 27th Jun - 9:29pm
    Allan, I mean people are asking themselves about the consequences for their family and concluding a bunch of negatives. A leader's salary might help this.
  • User AvatarAllan Brame 27th Jun - 9:23pm
    What’s in it for my family?’ That's not the question at all. Is it reasonable to sacrifice my family life for the sake of the...
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