Category Archives: News

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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BREAKING NEWS: Vince Cable announces his candidacy for Leader

A statement from Vince Cable MP:

Today I am announcing that I will be a candidate in the forthcoming Liberal Democrat leadership election. I wanted to do so on Lib Dem Voice, the leading forum for discussion amongst our membership.

With 20 years on the national political stage I am passionate as ever about our liberal values. I am ready to commit my energy, enthusiasm and experience to the task of leading the Liberal Democrats through what will be a period of chronic uncertainty. With the prospect of another election looming large, we must be ready for the fight.

Brexit negotiations have begun. The government is split and weakened; Labour is equivocal about Europe. The Liberal Democrats alone have a consistent and principled, outward looking, and approach to the issue. We must fight for the British public to have a final say on the government’s deal with a chance to stay in the EU if the deal is not good enough. To achieve this, we will need to work with like-minded people in other parties.

As Shadow Chancellor I secured a hard-won hearing for the party on the economy, warning of the 2008 financial crisis which has been a source of economic weakness, great inequality and political anger ever since. In government for five years as Secretary of State for Business I created a distinctive Lib Dem vision for the economy with a long-term industrial strategy, promotion of science and innovation, banking reform, investment in young people via apprenticeships and the promotion of socially responsible capitalism. With the economy approaching the Brexit iceberg, Liberal Democrats need more than ever to warn of the dangers ahead and the need for a new course.

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We must remember who we are fighting for

I’m a man. I’m cis. I’m gay. I’m middle-aged (oh come on…approaching!). I’m middle-class (yes, I can de-stone an Avocado without cutting myself).

I am also a liberal. I am also a Liberal Democrat.

We must, as liberals and LibDems, absolutely remember the most famous part of our oft-mentioned pre-amble to our constitution:

“…no one should be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.”

No one. No ONE person, shall be enslaved by any of those facets of liberalism.

Every time I’ve gone to quit the party, or cause an uproar with a fiery post, I keep coming back to these 3 areas, where we believe no ONE shall be enslaved.

I oppose libertarianism, because whilst it favours the individual, it does so without a social context.

I oppose socialism, because I don’t believe it’s right for a group of people to decide what’s right for society, and then pass laws so that the rest of us do what we’re told is right for us.

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Tim’s resignation: Wrong reasoning, wrong cause, wrong result

There is a clear irony in this car-crash. Prejudice against Tim’s supposed prejudices appears to have led to his resignation. Since he neither expressed such prejudices, nor, if he had them, allowed them to influence in the slightest his work as Liberal Democrat MP and Leader, what he has experienced is itself prejudice, an attack on his freedom of thought.

It seems a disgrace that he should have been confronted by senior party figures and asked to resign, apparently because of the supposed views which he has not expressed. It was unfair, and the more so since the delegation to him was apparently of unelected peers accountable to nobody, overriding the wishes of members who had elected him.

To the watching world it looks as if he has been forced out on the basis of aspects of his Christian faith. So, whether from an internal or external viewpoint, our party grandees seem to have acted from prejudice, rather than supporting the leader over the media voices which have tormented him with persistent, intrusive but irrelevant questioning.

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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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Lib Dems honoured

We have spotted a couple of Lib Dems in the Birthday Honours list – congratulations to them! If we have missed anyone please add in the comments and we will include them in the post.

Peter Black has been awarded the CBE for services to Politics and Public Life in Wales. Peter was an inaugural member of the Welsh Assembly and held his seat, representing South Wales West, until last year. He is currently a Councillor for Cwmbwrla Ward, Swansea City Council and the Welsh Liberal Democrats Spokesperson for Local Government, Heritage and Housing. Peter has been writing a substantial blog since 2003. Read more about Peter here.

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