+++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’.

The Guardian’s Jessica Elgot says that this came after a delegation went to see him today.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Shame………….. those who have driven a good man to this should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

  • I didn’t vote for Tim as leader – mainly because of my admiration for Norman, but also because I was concerned about his religious beliefs impacting on his leadership. However, I must say that I have been impressed by his hard work and dedication in a difficult period for the party. Nobody could have given more than Tim – it would have been interesting to see how he would have fared if he had been given the same platform during this GE as previous leaders had in past elections. Thank you Tim for all your hard work. I’m glad you’ll still be on the green benches fighting this particular good fight!

  • Duncan Borrowman 14th Jun '17 - 6:49pm

    That someone should be hounded out of office because of their religion is illiberal. I wonder how some in the party can look in the mirror.

  • I demand to know who was in this delegation.

  • Yeovil Yokel 14th Jun '17 - 6:49pm

    Another scalp for our vile media.

  • Absolutely agree with David Raw. Tim’s not perfect and he’s made mistakes, but he’s head and shoulders above the rest. Paddick and others should hang their heads in shame.

  • I am struggling to understand why Tim thought that he couldn’t continue leading his Party as a Christian.
    As a Christian, I respect the rights of people – of all faiths and none.
    I love them for who they are – though I might disagree with their thinking.
    They might think the same way about me, but the greatest commandment is to love our neighbour (everyone) as ourselves.
    What better way to serve as an MP.
    I might just apply to become an Member of Parliament one day.

  • Neil Archibald 14th Jun '17 - 6:53pm

    What a shame that Tim feels he has to choose between the two. I share his liberal values, not his faith, but have never felt the latter compromised his own political views – quite the opposite. Yet another sad day for our party

  • Mark Breeze 14th Jun '17 - 6:55pm

    “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.”

    As a gay man, I am 100% suspicious of anyone who thinks perfectly natural gay sex is a ‘sin’ because such a view has led to millions of dead gay people the world over, and endless needless cruelty, suffering and misery.

    My suspicion of Tim Farron doesn’t stop him from bring a party leader, although it does mean I would never vote for him, which is entirely my right.

    Nothing intolerant or illiberal about that, Mr Farron.

  • So sorry to read this. Tim is Liberal and liberal to his fingertips. He will be sorely missed.

  • Nicholas Cunningham 14th Jun '17 - 6:58pm

    One very honest and hard working politician hounded out of office. Thank you Tim for all your hard work in seeking to bring about a more decent world.

  • David Pocock 14th Jun '17 - 7:00pm

    I am really angry about this. Tim is a liberal and whatever his religious beliefs as a liberal he can be tolerant. Honestly who thinks if he won a land slide he would roll back lgbt rights.

    And the people who hold seats because of Tim put them knife into him. I agree with David, I want to know who did this, Nome of them will get my vote.

  • Laurence Cox 14th Jun '17 - 7:00pm

    I have said this in another Lib Dem forum:

    I will say now that I think that the way Tim was treated over his Christian beliefs was disgraceful. If he had been a Muslim, no-one would have dared to question him about the Koranic opposition to homosexuality. The media who made an issue of this have been following a distinctively atheist anti-religious line which is grossly illiberal. Because they could not take on the supporters of other religions without being accused of racism, they took on the soft target of Christianity.

  • Richard Easter 14th Jun '17 - 7:00pm

    A shame (but not surprising) the media didn’t go after May in the same way, they went after Farron over all this.

    I like Tim, he didn’t have a good campaign by any means, but I was hoping with Clegg well and truly consigned to the dustbin, and Farron still as leader it would give the Lib Dems a chance to grow a social democratic party with a strong civil liberties streak, rather than the global free market liberalism of Clegg.

  • Peter Hayes 14th Jun '17 - 7:01pm

    OMG how many times will people who claim to be at the top of the party try to drive me away. At least we have a strong council and a good candidate who halved the Tory MPs majority so I can campaign locally.

  • Martin Gentles 14th Jun '17 - 7:02pm

    I am sad that Farron has left but I think there’s more to this than some earlier posters have admitted. The question isn’t so much what his religious views are: Tim is entitled to believe whatever he wants about gays and abortion. A liberal is not required to have liberal religious views. A liberal is only required to see that his/her religious views are not enshrined in law to the disadvantage of others.

    But Tim did seem to have a moment in his voting past when he did allow his religious views to determine his politics. And that isn’t liberal, I would argue.I may be wrong, so I am willing to be corrected by anyone more knowledgeable than me but I think this was the start of Tim’s religious/political problem.

  • Jim Alexander 14th Jun '17 - 7:03pm

    Our Performance at the GE election was terrible – only Scotland which had more to do with Tactical Voting against the SNP than our Policies had any gains – but in the vast Majority of the seats that previously had decent Lib Dem votes in Scotland our Vote was wiped out – similar in England extreme Left under Corbyn – Extreme Right under May but we failed to capture a radical middle – whilst he was the grassroots favourite he simply didn’t command Authority within the wider electorate – so ignoring his speech – he had to go due to our performance -plus his battle between his religious beliefs and party policy were clearly an issue and the Press had every right to question it – that,s politics

  • russell Simpson 14th Jun '17 - 7:05pm

    Sad. Given Libdems lost vote share its probably right for someone else to have a go but not very happy with how today has gone. Was it because he said “homosexuality is not a sin”? I think it is entirely ok, eg to think that abortion is wrong but also legally available.

  • Benjamin Gregg 14th Jun '17 - 7:05pm

    This truly upsets me. I am actually a Labour member, though I lean, but have always had time for Tim. I saw him first on Question Time in 2014 and almost signed up because of him, he was honest and clear. Even though he seemed to lose that a little once leader I still kept an eye on him (hence why I am here) out of appreciation for someone who appeared to be a thoroughly decent politician.

  • LibDemDavid 14th Jun '17 - 7:06pm

    I think it’s shocking, they’ve done to Tim what they did to Charles. Was it a coup by the Orange Bookers intent on revenge because Tim jettisoned much of their libertarian economics and free market obsession? Please no Orange Booker successor or the Party will be in serious trouble. I hope Tim will do what the Queen of Disco Donna Summer did who raised tens of thousands of pounds for AIDS charities, just ask Elton John, sue the media who misrepresented what he said and win.

  • Paul Griffiths 14th Jun '17 - 7:07pm

    One prediction I can make with absolute certainty: Within days of a new leader being elected, the usual suspects will be back here on LibDem Voice saying that he or she must go.

    “The King is dead. Let’s kill the King.”

  • Gutted. Something is very sick in our society – and in our party – when Christian faith and political leadership cannot go together, and indeed enhance each other.

    As a Christian myself, one of Jose days where I have to look in the mirror and ask myself whether I’m really in the right party. If you’re reading this Tim, you deserved so much better from us. Thank you for fighting the good fight and I hope you’ll stick around for years to come.

  • I didn’t think the campaign was great, but I don’t doubt that he worked very hard. Hope this isn’t an exhausted knee jerk decision, but it might see off distractions in future.

  • Brian Evans 14th Jun '17 - 7:10pm

    I was aghast to hear of Tim’s stepping down. Like him, I have a deep Christian faith and, like him I have agonised over the apparent conflict between faith and liberty.

    Since becoming a member of the Party in 2015 – and although voting against Tim in the leadership election – I have been impressed by his leadership. I have never been so inspired by a political leader as I have been by Tim during this recent general election. He so often spoke with great power and I found myself thinking, ‘if only the other leaders were listening, surely they would question what they are doing, what they stand for!’ … but they weren’t, or at least didn’t!

    So, too, I am inspired by the way he has so simply expressed the conflict I feel: “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.” This is a truth that has become very clear to me in recent years as I have come to terms with a close family member who is gay.

    Tim’s next comment – “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” – is also one with which I totally agree. He might or might not have been referring to the DUP and its brother parties, but it’s a sentiment that certainly appears to ring true for them, and is a definite reason why we should oppose any close agreement between them and a minority Conservative government.

    For my part, as an active member of my church, I have tried to make a fair distinction between being open about my political leanings and using what opportunity I have within the church to forward political policies. In order to stay faithful to this intention I have found myself cutting short a comment sometimes when it seems to be straying too close to that boundary. … And you won’t find me proselytising at LibDem meetings either!

    Tim will be greatly missed, not only as a powerful orator, but as a sincere and impassioned leader. He will be a hard act to follow.

  • Colin Paine 14th Jun '17 - 7:12pm

    Unfortunately our brand as the most liberal party on LGBT+ was toxified and gave our opponents the ammunition to undermine us and distract from our excellent manifesto. The same would happen again in another election which could be very soon. Sad, but the right decision.

  • Eddie Sammon 14th Jun '17 - 7:14pm

    I just said I’d stop calling for him to go, so I wasn’t hellbent on Tim going, I just felt a new leader would get people listening again. People will say “who is this new leader and what do they believe?” whereas I think lots of people stopped listening to Tim.

    It wasn’t his religious views that made me despair, it was the results and the way the party was refusing to challenge Corbynism enough.

    Thanks for the hard work, Tim. The new leadership contest shouldn’t just be a coronation for Jo Swinson. Vince or Ed Davey should enter too. Lamb would be decent but not my favourite.

  • David Pocock 14th Jun '17 - 7:15pm

    @martin Gentles – I believe Tim said he voted against in one vote because the legislation was written badly. I mean are we seriously even going to buy this fake news like Tim is a closet homophobe or something. PM Tim would not have done anything to force his faith on anyone. And now the party has cemented the position that there was anything to the gay sex question. Well done indeed plotters.

    A further point as a Christian myself, is there a place for me in the party? Do we all now need to be so liberal we do not allow free thought. We need to defend the liberal of liberal democrat or else we might as well be Tory or labour.

  • Ryan McAlister 14th Jun '17 - 7:15pm

    I don’t think it is beyond the pale for the media to ask what politicians think. Time continually evaded.

    The irony is he pretty much given his best answer in his resignation. He as much as admits he disproves of homosexuality. I accept as a good liberal he would never vote to enforce those views, but I don’t get the outrage that people wanted to know what they are.

  • Samuel Cardwell 14th Jun '17 - 7:17pm

    I don’t blame the party – I’m quite certain that Tim would have had the support of the grassroots if he’d chosen to carry on. I do blame the media. In the words of Vic Reeves, ‘they wouldn’t let it lie’. I am sickened that this country has said that it will not give a chance to someone who dares to publicly hold perfectly orthodox, sensible religious views. As a Christian, I will continue to support the Liberal Democrats and I hope Tim finds a public role – Housing and Refugee Spokesman would allow him to follow his passions and take the fight to the government. But my confidence in politics has been deeply shaken.

  • Tristan Ward 14th Jun '17 - 7:19pm

    I have not met one person outside the party (including those who have told me they voted Lib Dem) who considered Tim Farron a good leader and/or asset to the party. The feeling was summed up by a Tory MP (Fallon?) who said at the beginning of the campaign that, whatever the problem was, he didn’t think Tim Farron was the answer to it. I suspect many, many voters shared that view despite his undoubted and enormous efforts and energy in the election campaign. He must be so disappointed and upset.

    I suspect the delegation (if there was one) will have made the general point about lack of impact (widely discussed in this forum) as well as mentioning faith. If it was only faith/LGBT issues that was discussed, that was wrong and illiberal. Tim’s record here is exemplary, and no one I know who dissed him had bothered to check it.

  • For those who have never held office or committed themselves to g ut busting weeks of campaigning they can have no idea of the strains that it puts on you and your family.
    Tired, feeling guilt for the seats lost facing an hostile background of sniping, it didnt need to be faith thing it could have simply been Ive had enough. Thanks for everything Tim, look after that Westmreland Constituency, they will need you

  • I think this is a very bad move for the party. Every single one of the possible contenders for the leadership voted to increase tuition fees to £9k. If you think Tim’s struggle between his faith and supporting rights for LGBT people gave the opposition ammunition, wait until we elect one of these people. If you think the tuition fees move was old news, you are sorely mistaken. Whenever I’ve revealed to anyone that I vote Lib Dem that’s still the first thing they mention.

    Tim had just managed to get his name out there. Though not everyone liked him, at least they were starting to know who he is, which was half the battle. I think we would have been quite well placed to keep gaining seats at the next election, whether it’s in six months or 2022.

    I’m gay and an atheist, but I think what has happened here is a disgrace. Tim has generally voted in favour of LGBT rights, I don’t give two s***s what he thinks in his head, it’s what he does that matters.

  • David Evershed 14th Jun '17 - 7:29pm

    The Lib Dem party now seems to have become anti liberal on social issues as well as anti liberal on economic issues.

  • Utterly gutted, shocked and bewildered.
    I am one of the many newbies who joined the party as a direct response to Tim Farron’s leadership in both its style and substance. He made the party a viable centre-left vehicle once again: one which i felt at home in.

    I am an agnostic and hold no religious brief. I never, however felt his private views on various matters to be a serious problem. It seems to me that there were those both inside and outside of the party who were determined to make mischief out of this minor matter. If, as some have suggested above, there is a deeper political motivation behind this sad event – then the matter is even more grievous.

    I will now be thinking hard and having to consider my position vis a vis the Liberal Democrats.

  • Joseph Bourke 14th Jun '17 - 7:31pm

    A worthy speech from an honest man. No one could have worked harder than Tim, as President to hold the party together during the coalition years and as Leader to rebuild the membership after 2015.

    We live in an unforgiving world and that in itself makes the path of the committed Christian an exceedingly difficult one. I hope he finds peace and solace in his faith in the turbulent times ahead.

  • @Mark Breeze

    Except he never said or thought anything of the sort. He said neither being gay or gay sex was a sin. Simple as that.

  • Ruth Bright 14th Jun '17 - 7:34pm

    Disgusting. I hope the big beasts are proud of themselves. Perhaps one of them can go and tell my idealistic teenager (who worked so hard for the party in her first General
    Election campaign) that Tim has been made to walk the plank. I don’t want to have to tell her.

    Who will we get instead: a cheerleader for fracking and nuclear power or a charisma and ideas free hand-wringer about cooperation with other parties on social care or a best days well behind him mate of Gordon Brown. Great.

  • Brian Paddick should be ashamed of himself. To force the issue today, in the light of the terrible tragedy in Kensington, is abhorrent.

  • This is down to the intolerance of Lord Paddick and other party members – not “the media”.

  • YellowSubmarine 14th Jun '17 - 7:39pm

    There is probably a rule written somewhere that states ideologies do not mix. The Christian faith was set in stone, literally, aeons ago. If you are a devout believer then there is no wriggle room to ignore or change these rules.

    If you then attempt to create and follow a political ideology there is bound to be irreconcilable differences. Changing political beliefs, to follow religious ones, are a non starter today. So attempting to be a passionate Christian, or follower of any other faith, and be a mainstream politician will always end in failure.

    I would say if you like ideologies choose one and make the most of it.

  • Angry Steve 14th Jun '17 - 7:49pm

    ” So attempting to be a passionate Christian, or follower of any other faith, and be a mainstream politician will always end in failure.”

    What complete nonsense. May, Cameron and Blair are all practicing Christians. Brown is the son of a Christian minister.

  • For a leader of the LIBERAL party to be hounded from office for his personal faith is completely unacceptable. Those who hounded him should be ashamed of themselves. They are not liberal. Tim is liberal to his core.
    If we do not stand for toleration what do we stand for?

    John Stuart Mill must be turning in his grave.

  • Jim Alexander 14th Jun '17 - 7:51pm

    LibDemDavid 14th Jun ’17 – 7:06pm
    I think it’s shocking, they’ve done to Tim what they did to Charles

    Charles Kennedy was in very simple terms someone with an Alcohol dependancy problem – therefore he had to go – Tim Farron failed to capitalise on an Election about Brexit – so he had to go – there is No Orange Book Coup – the facts in both instances made there positions untenable

  • Angry Steve 14th Jun '17 - 7:54pm

    Just when you thought British politics couldn’t sink any lower. Not only have the liberal wings of the Tory and Labour parties been driven from positions of influence from within their own parties, but now the liberal wing of the Lib Dems has suffered the same fate.

    What is it with you lot? You stab your leaders in the back with gay abandon unless they happen to be useless, in which case the electorate takes care of them eventually.

  • Richard Underhill 14th Jun '17 - 7:54pm

    The Tim Farron I remember came to Tunbridge Wells as President. He was entirely loyal to Nick Clegg and the party leadership.
    At the Eastleigh by-election he was working his socks off, having announced that we would “throw the kitchen sink at it”. We came first, UKIP were second and the Tories were third, so that their candidate was in tears. The UKIP candidate later was elected UKIP leader, for a while.
    Tim Farron knows a lot about housing, which should be an important policy area. Imagine trying to find a flat for a relative, but every room contains a refrigerator and there are mirrors on the ceiling.

  • This is terrible news. It seems very odd that earlier today he was going to continue as leader and suddenly by just after 6.30 he is resigning.

    Tim said, “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.”

    And “and to live as a committed Christian, to hold faithfully to the Bible’s teaching, has felt impossible for me.”

    Is Tim saying that he doesn’t believe as liberal Christians do, that the Bible’s teachings are not “the word of God” and they reflect the social attitudes of the authors of the time when each book (or part thereof) was written?

    Tim should have known “sin” questions would be asked and he should have been able to deal with them to kill them off quickly, answering “no” and then stating how many times he had said no. I wonder if his conservative Christian faith made it difficult for him to take a realistic and educated view on the Bible?

    I had hope he had now accepted that he would have to give clear “no” answers to the “sin” question and he would then be able to continue with leading the party recovery from the disaster of the coalition.

    The timing also is particularly bad news for new MPs. Chris Huhme had only been in Parliament for 8 months when he stood in 2006, but he had spent 6 years in the European Parliament.

    Here are a few criteria that all of the candidates should meet:
    Not be an economic liberal who thought the UK was like Greece in 2010 and cutting the deficit was the best way to stimulate growth in the UK;
    Didn’t vote for the bedroom tax;
    Didn’t vote or abstain in the vote to increase student fees.

    I don’t think there is going to be a candidate who I can vote for, and I fear whoever gets elected is going to do worse than Tim did in 2017. Is Stephen Lloyd the candidate for me?

  • Liberal ideology and political correctness have become synonymous with intolerance.

  • Our party is a “Liberal” party. That is what Tim stood for, and his Christian views were never in conflict with this and his leadership, but were in the minds of those that chose to use his Christianity as a weapon against him. If we were to continue down this line no Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu etc. could ever be able to hold office. Those with illiberal views, inside or outside the party should hang their heads in shame. They have eroded our liberties just a little bit more.

    Tim has served the party very well and put us on the path to strength again. I hope that his successor is as Liberal in views as Tim has been and can continue to build on his success. It’s a big task.

  • Steve Griffiths 14th Jun '17 - 8:01pm

    This is just the worst news. Under Tim it was beginning to feel like the old party once again I joined when I too was 16. I wept not for Clegg’s departure; he took the party from the wonderful heights of Charles Kennedy’s legacy, to almost another post-war nadir. Under Tim the membership bounced back, those on my wing of the party (who worked for decades to get the party to the heights of 2005) began to believe once more and we moved forward again.

    Who was in the delegation and what were their reasons. Could we have a statement from Brian Paddick or others?

  • Angry Steve 14th Jun '17 - 8:03pm

    Farron increased the number of Lib Dem MPs by 50%. Clegg decreased the number of Lib Dem MPs by 86%.

  • Hi all, I don’t often comment but I’ve always found this blog (despite not being a Lib Dem supporter nor voter) an interesting read given it openly allows, and positively encourages all views and thought it would be worth putting my view (for what it’s worth across)

    Going back to the matter in hand:

    This seems really sad news. I said back in 2015 that Tim Farron, due to his record from 2010 – 2015 was seemingly the only credible candidate for the leader of the Liberal Democrats. Last Thursday night when it became apparent that Farron was in danger of losing his seat, it was probably the first (and indeed very likely the only Liberal Democrat) that I was feeling troubled about losing from Parliament. I say that, not as someone in agreement with Farron’s views – (I certainly think talk of a second referendum – and trying to justify it alongside justifying not having a second independence referendum [which I do agree with him on] didn’t help him) but there is a need in parliament for individuals with a great integrity which he has shown during the last twelve years.

    Friday’s statement seemed to suggest things for the Liberal Democrats were steadying after making the first four steps in the long and hard road back to the MP levels the party had under Paddy Ashdown and Charles Kennedy. Is it not to be feared, that should there be the election of someone with ‘Coalition Hemlock’ that it could not set the Liberal Democrats backwards?

  • Bernard Aris 14th Jun '17 - 8:10pm

    Somehow, LibDem leaders wounded by media campaigns and mistrusted by perope who otherwise share our views and vote for us, give the most astounding good resignation speeches these days (i’m NOT refering to Lord Paddick who should explain himself more). Both Cleggs resignation speech as leader (and his speech on losing his Sheffield seat) and now Tim’s declaration (speach and members mailing) are great; Clegg started the first wave of new members in 2015.

    With a local base stil bruised by massive losses in the Coalition years (half of which has still not been restored at polls), only 8 MP’s and scant media coverage, this was not going to be a big revival. Even the masses of new members streaming in could have given organizational problems.
    Jeremy Corbyn has won massive support by promising pie in the sky, but may have helped dozens of pro-EU Labour MP get re-elected. His campaign in a party five times our size was always likely to put our campaign in the shadow; I don’t blame Tim or his crew for that. And losing deposits has been in the Glee Club song book for decades; since the 1960’s we work with the “targeted seats support” strategy, then you get loads of lost deposits.
    So my heartfelt thanks to Tim personally, we can always use an indefatigable fighter like him; and a new leader will get us some extra attention since this is a 1974 kind of year…

  • David Butcher 14th Jun '17 - 8:11pm

    I am not too upset that Tim has gone. His performance during the recent campaign was poor and a number of friends said they were underwhelmed by him as a leader and would not be voting for us as a consequence. His usual passion and oratory were little in evidence and he failed to cut through.

    What is upsetting however is that he should go as a consequence of his personal beliefs not his actions. I have been a member of the Party for a relatively short while. What has happened is illiberal and calls in to question whether I am I the right party. I thought we made a virtue of tolerance!

  • Andrew McCaig 14th Jun '17 - 8:12pm

    Thankyou Tim for your energy and absolute commitment to the Liberal Democrat cause. You kept your Pledge on tuition fees and that is why I voted for you, and indeed why I rejoined the Party in 2015..

    This is almost certainly going to give me some problems in the upcoming Leadership election..

  • Dreadful news – even if this is criticism of the national campaign “hiding” beneath the cloak of not very concealed accusations of homophobia – this is not the right time to do this. If, on the other hand, it is a nakedly expedient attempt to take advantage of the fact that several well-known and respected figures have been re-elected, it is entirely cynical at this time. In none of these cases does Tim deserve the treatment he has been given. What a disgrace!

  • David Allen 14th Jun '17 - 8:14pm

    This is desperately sad. Tim has been in most ways an outstanding leader. He has worked his socks off for this party. He has staked out our clear and principled position on Brexit. A disastrous negotiation with the EU may well prove that he got it very, very right.

    Sadly, I fear that Tim was also right to say that “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.”

    A different person might have said something totally unambiguous – such as:

    “Yes, my personal religious conviction is that homosexuality is sinful. But as a liberal, I would find it abhorrent to seek to impose my own personal religious beliefs on anybody else. That’s why you can be sure that I will always support gay rights, as I always have done.”

    Why did Tim put forward agonised ambiguity, in place of a clear statement? My best guess is that he would have found it too difficult to make any statement like my draft above, because that would – to him – have implied putting Mammon before God. And that he could not do.

    That’s very sad for all of us, and it’s a tragedy for Tim.

  • Lester Holloway 14th Jun '17 - 8:15pm

    I think our manifesto was a testament not only to Tim’s belief in Liberal values but Tim’s recognition that we sometimes need a more muscular Liberalism to create opportunities for all, a departure from the dogma thinks equality can simply be wished into being with good intentions alone. I am very concerned that we might now go backwards. I’ve never heard anything from those being talked about as contenders to suggest they were ahead of Tim in this regard.

  • Steve Comer 14th Jun '17 - 8:15pm

    This is really bad news. We have allowed a character assassination orchestrated by a handful of lefties via the vile medium that is Twitter to succeed (aided and abetted by Patten and the ‘delegation’ – and yes I want to know who the guilty are too).

    The TV were obsessing with Tim Farron’s attitude to gay sex ‘because of his Christianity’, but the same questions were not asked of Vicar’s daughter, and committed christian Theresa May. And they were not asked of Muslim Sadiq Khan during the Mayoral election in London, so why was Tim singled out? I believe it was because certain people wanted to target him to weaken the Liberal Democrats.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 14th Jun '17 - 8:18pm

    I am livid and heartbroken that such a fundamentally decent guy has been forced out like this. It was inevitable that those who don’t like him would have a go. Those responsible should be ashamed of themselves, though.

  • Katharine Pindar 14th Jun '17 - 8:23pm

    No, no, no, we should not accept this! We should beg him to reconsider a decision taken in the aftermath of a difficult and wearying election, and apparently with unacceptable interference from certain illiberal party members. For all the reasons people have been giving above, he should reconsider, and stand again in a leadership contest against the candidates who voted less honestly than he in the tuition fees debate. As a committed Christian myself, I have been delighted to have a leader who seemed to me to perfectly combine the tenets of Christianity and of Liberal Democracy: he has humbly tried to care for and serve his people, and has had faith in people and tolerance for all. Can someone who knows how start a petition or an on-line statement of support to sign, to help him change his mind?

  • LibDemDavid 14th Jun '17 - 8:25pm

    Jim Alexander
    No Charles Kennedy didn’t have to go he was forced out, why did the Party not give such a popular leader who won more seats for a 3rd Party than any other leader more support. The facts I see are 2015 8 seats down from 57 in 2010, 2017 12 seats up 4. Those are the facts, do the maths that’s upwards. The Orange Booker brigade campaigned against Tim right from the start and have found an issue on which to scapegoat him for the actions of another politician and inaccurate media reporting such as Tim doesn’t believe in Gay Marriage which I heard on LBC radio. Just the same as they did to Donna Summer when they totally misrepresented her views on AIDS despite all her excellent charity work in that area.

  • George Crozier 14th Jun '17 - 8:28pm

    I’m a great admirer of Tim but the fact is he answered questions badly and in a way which damaged him and the party. If he had given the answer Theresa May gave, and she is another practising Christian, there would have been no issue.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 14th Jun '17 - 8:29pm

    This is all wrong.

    Many of us who very definitely supported him staying have found ourselves defending him as a moderate on Europe in comparison with others.

    Every so often as in his in my view excellent interview calling for a cross party approach to the issue, he has had the naysayers say he is wrong.

    Some of us thought he was wrong to be so gung ho before on this issue and were relieved to have the nuanced position.

    And when he was mauled on his faith others were embarrassed.

    It is the ultras in this and any party that lead it to nowhere.

    Ultra left, ultra right .

    Add ultra liberal.

    There is no such thing as ultra democratic.

    Tim is a liberal and a Liberal but he is a democrat and a Democrat .

    And a Christian before both.One who has been treated shabbily by the media not the party. His faith might present him with challenges the faith of others may not, because of the nature of its evangelical stance. But his consistency as a man of humanity and understanding of liberty has been admirable. The religiously agnostic , politically faithful ,Mill , would approve of him.

    He is a very fine man . And I think we shall need him and Nick as much as ever. His contribution has been considerable and shall be yet. The statement here is the man at his peak.

    It is necessary to find out what or who was behind this immediate decision.What we do not need or want is bitterness in the party that turns on other potential leaders of tomorrow who are blameless.

    Please can we have a measured approach to the issues and each other.

  • Roger Billins 14th Jun '17 - 8:31pm

    A lot of emotional nonsense being talked on all sides. It is very wrong that Tim has been hounded out of a Liberal party for his views but it was a horrible distraction from our campaign as was legalising cannabis as a plank of our manifesto. So much rubbish talked about our GE success because we increased the number of our M.P’s from 8-12.. The fact is that strategic and political errors for 7 years have removed our party from being a major player controlling big cities and London Boroughs with 62 M.P’s to an irrelevance where we are in third place in most of the country. Tim has to take the rap for that although I think the fault may lie in the secretariat. Nobody understood that austerity weighed more in the public mind than Brexit and that Starmer was playing a blinder. Now we need a truly radical agenda-universal basic income, eco manufacturing, and wealth tax replacing income tax. Who delivers a radical, liberal and social democrat agenda gets my vote. Tonight, it’s not Tim I feal sorry for but Sarah Olney.

  • I don’t know who forced/advised Tim to leave but WHY TODAY?

  • Gutted to hear this. Very, very angry to hear that he seems to have been forced out. Wondering why I still even bother with this party sometimes.

  • LibDemDavid 14th Jun '17 - 8:38pm


  • I voted for Tim as leader. He was doing well up to the Gen election being called. He was good in parts not so good in others. Our campaign ie ours the members campaign with our fixation on Europe was pretty crap BUT…. It was Tim’s decision to make not others. And he certainly needed time to reflect. I want to know who went to see him. And they need to come out and say who they are.

  • EDDIE KIERNAN 14th Jun '17 - 8:38pm

    Disgusted by the way this has been done ,Tim has done a good job as leader and the membership numbers are better than they have ever been.His genuinely Social Liberal views match my own & not since Charles Kennedy’s leadership have i agreed on more issues with a leader.What choice do i have in the leadership election?Is there a candidate who’s views will represent mine?I’m not sure there will be..

  • LibDemDavid 14th Jun '17 - 8:39pm

    es James, amazing how other parties don’t seem to kick their leaders out with such ease, Jeremy was never forced out even when the press pilloried him.

  • Yeovil Yokel 14th Jun '17 - 8:41pm

    I find the video quite distressing, look at the strain and disbelief on the faces of Norman, Sal, Wera and Vince, I’m not sure that this was a ‘Lambite’ or ‘Orange Booker’ coup.

  • Sean Hyland 14th Jun '17 - 8:43pm

    I left the Lib Dems when the orange book agenda took over. I had been considering rejoining as I felt more comfortable with the message that was presented. I have voted Green in the past few years but in recent elections have returned to vote for the party. If, as seems, a degree of pushing as per Charles Kennedy has occurred and this leads to a return of the orange book wing then I will not rejoin. I will continue considering to vote for the party but cannot in good conscience join.
    I wish Tim well in the future. His faith was never an issue for me,as an agnostic, and yes he maybe could have answered the questions relating to it a little better.He was hounded on the issue though.
    For a Liberal party it seems to act in opposition to it’s liberal credentials a lot of the time.

  • I felt that Farron was inadequately prepared for LGBT questions but other than that he was quite good in the election campaign. Because of Clegg Farron had a mountain to climb and he had made a start. Where we failed was in social media – all the messaging was blue vs red. It would have been better if Farron had not been forced out on this particular day – fire aside the party needed to take more time to understand what could have been done better. The Lib Dems have treated Farron very shoddily.

  • Diane Reddell 14th Jun '17 - 8:46pm

    I personally think that Tim Farron was an asset to the Leadership of the party. The membership grew to hundreds of thousands and the number of MPs increased by 50%. Although there was a few casualties. Both the 2015 and 2017 were strange elections for different reason. 2015 saw the insurgence of Nationalism and UKIP and 2017 saw the insurgence of socialism, rejection of austerity and had the main aim of getting the conservatives out of power. Yes I think there may have been an error of judgement in rejecting the opportunity of coalition with either labour or conservative as the lib dems could have made it more of a power share but no way should Tim had to have to stand down. I think the media actually breached the Equality Act 2010 on both religion and LGBT and there should be an investigation on this.

  • Stephen McCluskie 14th Jun '17 - 8:47pm

    Tim Farron inspired me to join the Liberal Democrats. This is disgusting, pathetic and stupid. Just as the tide is turning against austerity a progressive leader is trashed. Yeah, makes sense.

  • Russell Kent 14th Jun '17 - 8:51pm

    He had to go. Staying on as leader would only tarnish the party in the eyes of the electorate. Like it or not, the great majority of the electorate do not look kindly on political leaders voicing their religious beliefs. We may liberal to our core, however, the majority of the electorate aren’t.

  • Sad, disgusted, and livid.
    And all those armchair strategists who’ve been carping on here will no doubt be doing the same soon with whoever wins the leadership election. Not that any names spring to mind who are likely to do any better in the hot seat than Tim has, faced with picking up the post-coalition pieces.
    Wondering if I’m in the right party now as well. Although I think those who have hounded him out would be far better at home in the Labour Party.

  • John Chandler 14th Jun '17 - 8:53pm

    Very sad to see this, and reflects badly on the party and British society. I was unsure of Tim during the leadership contest (before I joined the party), but I warmed to him pretty quickly and was very impressed by his performance during the election in what were difficult circumstances.

  • Matt Dolman 14th Jun '17 - 8:55pm

    Tim’s done a great deal for us. Let’s now pick a strong, future-looking leader.

  • Nick Collins 14th Jun '17 - 8:55pm


  • John Mitchell 14th Jun '17 - 8:56pm

    @Peter b

    “Liberal ideology and political correctness have become synonymous with intolerance.”

    I agree. I’m quite furious about this with Tim being hounded throughout the campaign by the press and somewhat unfairly. For instance Theresa May was not questioned in the same way and doesn’t have a great voting record on gay rights.

    As Murdo Fraser of the Scottish Conservatives alludes to I do wonder what kind of society we’re turning into. It’s moving towards a liberal fascism. Farron’s religious belief was personal and private and he didn’t seek to enforce it upon anyone. I don’t detect any maliciousness or viciousness within Farron and never have. Perhaps that’s his problem in that he wasn’t ruthless enough or willing to betray his colleagues. The only thing I could criticise Farron for is not being as radical as I would have liked as leader in terms of economic policy, but to blame our current fortunes on Farron alone is not fair. He did a good job in difficult circumstances and simply didn’t get enough time.

    It’s a sorry state of affairs and didn’t need to happen at all. If you’re a Christian or have a form of religious belief you’re not welcome in the Liberal Democrats. That’s what this says to me even if I know party members themselves don’t think that. The brass that forced his exit have a lot to answer for.

  • Whenever Christianity is normally mentioned on one of these blogs there are often a number of angry voices denouncing religion in general and Christianity in particular. But they seem absent today.

  • I’m gutted to hear this news, having just read this and then the Brian Paddick thread. I posted a couple of days ago that I thought Tim should stay, and would get better after his experience of the last election. If the party picks anyone other than Vince Cable as leader, we will be back to having a leader that no one else will recognise or have heard of. And if we pick Vince, we will just keep reminding people of the coalition.

    Speaking as an ordinary, provincial member of the party, the idea that Tim received a “delegation” asking him to stand down, and that he did, is very de-motivating. I thought that the Lib Dems were different and that the membership had a real say in choosing a leader, but we have just lost one to a “delegation” accountable to no one.

    Yet, I liked and appreciated the campaigning Brian Paddick did for civil liberties and against excessive surveillance.

    I don’t know what to think at the moment, but can’t see how this makes anything better.

  • It is disappointing that Tim Farron has been forced out this way. Those responsible should be open and transparent about what they did and why. Tim came across as a genuine Liberal and a refreshing change from the Tory lite Orange Bookers. As a bisexual male, I have no issues with his views of sexulality and his voting record was sound on these issues. With another election possibly only months away, the last thing we need is a divisive party election campaign. Select any of those who reneged on the tuition-fee promise, or bedroom tax supporter Stephen Lloyd and we will go backwards next election.

  • Russell, he didn’t ‘voice his religious beliefs’: he tried to keep his faith private, but this was held up as having something to hide. If he’d not been persecuted by certain people previously and the media this election, it would never have been an issue.

  • Russell Kent 14th Jun '17 - 8:58pm

    Good piece in the Independent regarding Tim’s religious beliefs and politics.

    Tim Farron’s religion was the problem, not other people’s attitude to it.

  • I think this is incredibly shabby. Tim if you are reading this, you did so well in the Campaign.

    I watched the first Leaders debate where I thought you did really well, I saw your speech after the Manchester tragedy which was so inspiring and heartfelt, and I thought your speech after the Election result was spot on. To me you were a bit like Corbyn – a man of the people – not mouthing platitudes and soundbites.

    And, if I’m not wrong, the Lib Dems will very much regret this in the long run, When people behave in such an expedient way it usually comes back to bite them. Just as with the tuition fees betrayal and May calling an early election, getting rid of a leader who has rescued the party and doubled its membership is just plain foolish – and deeply ungrateful.

    And speaking about your faith in such a moving and honest way is perhaps your crowning achievement. I am a Christian and know the tensions between party policy and faith. You came under incredible scrutiny, but withstood it all.

  • Russell Kent 14th Jun '17 - 9:03pm

    Cassie B.
    Tim Farron on faith, morality and serving others.

    Seems like voicing his religious beliefs to me.

  • Bernard Aris 14th Jun '17 - 9:04pm

    The part about the “delegation” (if true) reminds me too much of the “men in grey suits” of Harold Macmillan days of the TORIES. for crying out loud….
    Surely this could have been done in a better way; Tim (who brought tens of thousands to the party and kept our spirits high in the post-Clegg days) deserved as much.

  • For a Liberal leader to be hounded from office on account of his religious beliefs is a disgrace.
    This is the lowest point in my membership of 43 years.

  • Elaine Woodard 14th Jun '17 - 9:06pm

    Members knew of Tim’s religious views when they elected him leader so to say that there is no place for Christians in the party is utterly false. As an atheist I voted for Tim as I believed he was the best person for the job. The problem isn’t with Tim’s beliefs but the way he was hounded by the media because of them. And unfortunately Tim was pressed relentlessly because he didnt answer the question on gay sex and seemed evasive. I was hoping that he would be given intensive media coaching and stay on as leader. So sad for someone who has done so much for the party but I hope he will feel able to continue to do so in the future.

  • Angry Steve 14th Jun '17 - 9:07pm

    Whoever replaces him will have to come to terms with the fact that at least a third of the electorate (who have faith of some description) have been put off voting Lib Dem because of this bigotry.

  • I still want to know who was in the delegation. At least have the guts to tell us.

  • The right decision – Tim just wasn’t able to break through and the gay sex issue destroyed us with younger voters

  • And say there is another Election in 2017, it will take a while for the Electorate to get to know another leader. Apart from being deeply unfair, it is sheer folly! We will probably lose all the seats we gained and more.

    I will sadly not be campaigning for the Lib Dems for a long while, I am afraid. Tuition fees almost did for me, but this shabby ingratitude is the end. This is not about what Tim believes for me, it’s about how the Party itself has behaved.

  • LibDemDavid 14th Jun '17 - 9:15pm

    Religious beliefs and social liberalism are not incompatible and never will be. Those who hounded Tim out would be more at home in the Conservative Party or UKIP than a party which at this GE which espoused genuinely progressive social liberal policies and increased its tally of seats. The press smears on the radio and tv were never challenged at a higher level of the party, they fell silent.

  • Sue Sutherland 14th Jun '17 - 9:19pm

    Normally I try not to take sides in this kind of spat because the only way we are going to survive as a party is to unite and overcome differences but I’m a founder member of the party having been a member of the SDP and I’m in despair. Tim voted against tuition fees, he spoke well and seemed to embody Liberal values, particularly on social justice so I’m devastated that he has gone. However, I’m equally devastated that a powerful group of people in the party have taken it upon themselves to get rid of a leader who saw such an increase in our membership and under whom we gained more MPs. How can they call themselves Liberals when no attempt has been made to sound out the membership on this? As Liberals we are all supposed to mistrust power, particularly when wielded by ourselves but frankly this is something that completely disappeared from sight during the Coalition. How do we get Members of the House of Lords to resign? We’ve got enough of them so one or two won’t be missed. Tim has lost an election, so did Brian Paddick but he was made a Lord to reward him for his failure.
    I really believe we must beg Tim to stand again as leader just like Jeremy Corbyn did because that would give the membership a say. To ask someone to resign just after they’ve worked their socks off and increased the number of Lib Dem MPs is appalling. Nick Clegg has been Liberal enough to refuse to contemplate becoming a member of an unelected chamber but now we have Lords and Baronesses throwing their weight around in what is supposed to be a democratic Party.
    I voted for Tim among other things, because he voted against tuition fees. That issue has been toxic for our party so I am horrified that we have no one to vote for who isn’t tainted by this and I am so afraid that we will go back into Orange book territory along with it.
    I am deeply, desperately upset that a few people have caused such division in our party.

  • Shaun Cunningham 14th Jun '17 - 9:20pm

    What a sad day when one can’t lead a political party because one’s faith is not shared by others. Paddick, should be absolutely ashamed of himself. I had my differences with Tim, however, Tim worked his socks for this party and to be told by a small group of individuals that his faith is an obstacle to his leadership must be utterly devastating for him. Perhaps, Paddick and others, should look up the word “tolerance” ….
    the ability or willingness to tolerate the existence of opinions or behaviour that one dislikes or disagrees with. Tim demonstrated tolerance, not sure others have.

  • Edwin Poultney 14th Jun '17 - 9:25pm

    A great shame Tim has been forced to step down, he had the potential to be a great leader. A leader who speaks from the heart with passion and conviction. The media should also be thoroughly ashamed for attacking a person’s Christian Faith, when it had no relevance to Party Policy or the General Election. It just gave other people the cue to propagate lies about Tim on Social Media as reasons to vote Labour rather than Lib Dem. Lies on Social Media was probably the cause of far more younger Remain supporters voting Labour rather than Lib Dem despite the ambiguous Labour stance on Brexit. Theresa May’s Christian Faith has not been an issue with the Media during the General Election and even when she clutches at the DUP to keep her in power, it is the Christian Faith of the DUP that is vilified not her impending support for it in Northern Ireland Laws. I think time will show the Lib Dems to be on the right side of the Brexit argument and now was not the time to diminish the only voice not widening the divide from Europe.

  • Denis Mollison 14th Jun '17 - 9:26pm

    “Palehorse 14th Jun ’17 – 8:56pm
    Whenever Christianity is normally mentioned on one of these blogs there are often a number of angry voices denouncing religion in general and Christianity in particular. But they seem absent today.”

    Any other day, I’ll be happy to appear here “denouncing religion in general and Christianity in particular”. But today I feel more like starting “Liberal Democrat Atheists for Farron” in protest at the undeserved and nasty way he seems to have been pushed into resigning. I absolutely agree with others here that the delegation that went to see him – if that is how it happened – should be named and called to account.

  • Elaine Woodard 14th Jun '17 - 9:26pm

    The Party didn’t hound out Tim, a few individuals did.

  • LibDemDavid 14th Jun '17 - 9:27pm

    Sue and Shaun I agree totally and well said. I’ve already sent a letter of complaint to the Party about this, there should be an equivalent FOI type of investigation of who was involved, what was said and why the party membership wasn’t consulted. This is not a democratic act but one borne by spite from a particular faction which has been on the decline in recent years.

  • Nick Cotter 14th Jun '17 - 9:29pm

    Really shocked by this – Frankly I don’t blame Tim for wanting to spend more time with his lovely family and in that beautiful constituency.
    Tim – you are better off out of this bear-pit

    Good Luck

    Nick Cotter.

  • George Crozier 14th Jun '17 - 9:30pm

    Tim has many, many strengths, and but we need to reflect that our vote share fell at the election just passed to a new low, and Tim ended the campaign with overall negative satisfaction ratings from the electorate. Apart from the special case of Nick Clegg in 2015, that’s never been the case for us before.

    I’ve been a strong supporter of Tim, and remain a great admirer of him, but at the end of an election campaign you have to take a step back, reflect and decide if the leader you have is the greatest asset you could have in that role. Sadly Tim doesn’t seem to have enthused the electorate as much as he does me and others posting here. Politics is a tough business. Tim probably has been treated unfairly in terms of the amount of attention paid to his answers on a topic where his record is generally very good. But as I say, politics is a tough business. Sometimes you have to reluctantly conclude that there are others better placed to be the party’s lead spokesperson, and to lead the effort to take the LibDem fightback to the next level.

  • Paul Griffiths 14th Jun '17 - 9:31pm

    I should be immune by now, but I am always shocked to come on this site and see people with the Lib Dem logo next to their names making comments that would make Katie Hopkins look enlightened and progressive.

  • Just as a point of fact, the Lib Dems have been led by “someone of faith” in recent years.
    He was called Charles Kennedy.

    The crunch point for me with Tim came when he wouldn’t answer questions in the same way as Charles did (on an issue other than homosexuality)

  • I am surprised at the outpouring of support for Tim Farron. His speech clearly indicates that there was a contradiction between certain of his Christian beliefs and his public position and record as a political liberal, which someone of no faith (for example) would not have. It seems to me like doublethink to try and be both a good liberal and a good Christian. You might get away with doing that as a rank and file member, but the standard is rightly higher if you are party leader, because it needs to be clear whether someone’s private views influence their public position. So why the outrage? Tim Farron was not forced to run for leader and he is not being forced to resign either.

  • LibDemDavid 14th Jun '17 - 9:40pm

    So did the Greens vote share fall, their leader didn’t resign, so did the UKIP vote share fall and Nuttall only resigned because they didn’t win a single seat. Vote share hasn’t got anything to do with it. The GE was too soon for the Party to make serious headway and it wasn’t all about the EU either as the other social issues came up time after time on the doorstep. There were also many who didn’t vote. Tim will always be a gay icon in my mind, pioneering gay marriage and consistently voting for gay rights. His departure was engineered and those of us on here on the social liberal wing must protest and complain to the Party.

  • Eddie Sammon 14th Jun '17 - 9:41pm

    People pinning the blame on the delegation: I’d be surprised if Tim resigned just due to a small delegation. Maybe they had a petition of parliamentarians with them. Just a guess.

  • Arthur Snell 14th Jun '17 - 9:41pm

    Putting aside his religious views, he didn’t fight a good campaign. The successes were local; at the national level we went backwards.

  • LibDemDavid 14th Jun '17 - 9:48pm

    Tim was voted as leader by a pretty significant majority of members, he was forced out by an undemocratic minority. Tim fought an excellent campaign on the NHS, reversing police cut backs, protecting our environment, against tuition fees and on school meals for primary school children. He wasn’t given any where near the same airtime on these issues as the other labour and tory leaders, I watched and listened.

  • Thomas L: ‘You might get away with doing that as a rank and file member,’
    How very generous of you to permit Christians to be in the party at all, really.
    ‘It seems to me like doublethink to try and be both a good liberal and a good Christian.’
    Insulting rubbish, quite frankly.

  • Steve Griffiths 14th Jun '17 - 10:01pm

    We the membership voted him in; we should at least be told who was in the delegation and why they did it out of courtesy. Statement by someone please.

  • David Pocock 14th Jun '17 - 10:02pm

    Spot on CassieB.

  • Helen Griffiths-Hayn 14th Jun '17 - 10:09pm

    I am shocked, saddened and deeply upset. I wish to thank Tim for his hard work over the past 2 years as party leader, and for bringing me back to the party. I left following the 2010 election as I no longer recognised the Lib Dems in coalition. Tim showed me a party I DID recognise and I began to be proud to be Lib Dem again. I wish him support, and solidarity and a deep apology that this has happened. Not a liberal action in my view and I will not knowingly support anyone involved in this to become party leader.

  • Ian Patterson 14th Jun '17 - 10:13pm

    Someone has picked their moment, given the events in Kensington overnight.

  • LibDemDavid 14th Jun ’17 – 8:39pm….. amazing how other parties don’t seem to kick their leaders out with such ease, Jeremy was never forced out even when the press pilloried him…..

    It wasn’t for want of trying…In addition to the media his PLP, Blair, Mandelson, et al, tried their hardest…It was the Labour membership who stopped them…Perhaps LibDem members, who feel so strongly, could try…

  • Ian: Reminds me of the “good day to bury bad news” quote from 2001…..

  • Graham Evans 14th Jun '17 - 10:24pm

    @ Mark Wright: That is ultimately just your view but I doubt whether many LGBTQ people agree with you. It is one thing tolerating a MP whose highly traditional and conservative approach to Christianity regards your sexual activities as at best distasteful and at worse a perversion, and who considers abortion as wrong, it is entirely another thing for such a person to be leading a liberal party. Tim’s handling of these issues has demonstrated extremely poor political judgement. It may be a small minority among the electorate, but in terms of political activity in all parties the LGBTQ community punches above its weight, and Tim has destroyed the clear advantage the LDs once had among that community. The irony of the current situation is that in his deciding to resign as leader he has shown much better judgement than all those contributors to this blog who wanted him to stay on.

  • It is impossible to imagine how liberalism could have ever developed without Christianity. The two are practically inseparable. The same is true of humanism, which began in the city states of renaissance, Catholic Italy. Modern liberalism and humanism have largely become secular in the sense that they now exist without the supernatural element of their Christian origin, but it it absolutely compatible to be a traditional Christian and a liberal.

    The sheer ignorance of those decrying Christianity as anti-liberal is breathtaking. How do you reconcile the Christian message of non-judgement, turning the other cheek and loving your neighbour regardless of what they get up to, with being anti-liberal?

  • Cassie B – as I pointed out above the party had an openly Christian leader as recently as 2005.

  • Gregory Connor 14th Jun '17 - 10:27pm

    It appears that Tim has been pushed (I really don’t want to believe this but it looks this way – the party membership is entitled to the truth).
    If this is the case and it’s to do with his faith then it is sad and unacceptable. If it’s to do with his performance then it’s premature and short-sighted.
    There were several deficiencies in our national campaign and the result was not good enough. The correct course of action is to analyse these, learn the lessons and take the appropriate action. It is not to defenestrate a leader of great integrity, immense work ethic, passionate and powerful oratory and self-evident liberal and social democratic values.
    Thank you Tim for busting a gut to bring this party back from the dead. I hope you stand in the leadership election so that the membership can decide if you should be leader.

  • David Pocock 14th Jun '17 - 10:29pm

    Tim will get my vote if he does.

  • The best thing I can do is put in a complaint to the Party using their online form and would encourage others to do likewise. It doesn’t quite cover the undemocratic and unprincipled removal of Party Leaders but there is scope for comments here under the organisation structure.

  • Shades of Charles Kennedy and that didn’t end well as his replacements couldn’t hold a candle to him.

  • Carolyn Mann 14th Jun '17 - 10:39pm

    Very sorry that Tim has resigned, He is a good man and has done so much for our party. If he was pushed, as it seems he might have been, then I hope he stands in the leadership election so that we can have a chance to vote for him.

  • Reading that Lord Paddick was at the forefront of the movement to oust Tim, and that Lady Barker and Lord Lester tweeted their approval, I couldn’t help but wonder if this coup was primarily carried out by Peers of the Realm rather than elected MPs. But perhaps the MPs are just more subtle because they are more answerable.

  • Overall Tim has shown much better political judgement than any other senior lib dem in recent times. It is easy to a postulate a “counter factual” where May did not call an election with lib dems building support : by-election wins, local council successes and increasing support for our position on Brexit as the harm it will do to our economy became increasingly apparent. Tim did not have the luxury of that time. Unfortunately it was clegg that did most harm to our party over tuition fees. The policy itself but also the symbolism and betrayal of trust.

    I think I saw a poll with us on 20% among remainders and 2% among leavers. And overall that was the story of our successes London, Scotland OXWAB and Bath. A distinctive position and one that it is correct. One also that would have borne greater electoral fruits in time. We should always march to the sound of gunfire. Broadly we were to the left of new labour and we should not vacate that just because corbynite labour is too. Good funding for the NHS and education. We rightly criticised Blair’s 75p pension increase and got the triple lock in government. Public infrastructure spending is a triple bonus. How much is lost to the economy in traffic jams and a creaking railways? And yes I hope we will look again at tuition fees. 35% said it was a reason for switching to labour.

  • Denis Mollison – ‘LibDem atheists for Farron.’ Great idea. Where do I sign?
    I don’t agree with everything Tim has said/done in his time, and I have some concerns about the GE campaign. But think of how proud we were of him when he went to the refugee camps. And how he led from the front with passion in the EU referendum (where were Corbyn and May??) A good man has been treated disgracefully here.

  • When I was younger I used to play chess with my father.
    Many a time, he raised an kindly eyebrow, as my finger hovered over the next move and with a knowing smile laughingly said:
    “are you sure you want to do that?”

    Tim, it is almost inconceivable that sometime in the near future , you won’t find yourself reading the very many comments here.

    1. Firstly, and most importantly, for all the various views here from many genuine members and supporters, not a single person doubts the love you have for the party you joined at 16 and that you live and breathe openness, tolerance and integrity.

    2. What I also know, is that you have a god given gift – you are a natural orator, an inspiring motivator and a brilliant campaigner.

    3. In 2015 the Lib Dem’s were facing total meltdown. The 20+ vote share built up under both Charles and Nick had been reduced to a level where the party was faced with extinction. I happen to believe that if you had not stepped up to the plate, no-one else could have held/increased that position in the last couple of years.

    4. The irony is that the party now faces a massive dilemma.
    They must never underestimate the reach of a passionate communicator, with a dream, to pull people in who “believe what you believe”. (Think MLK and Mr Corbyn at present).
    The main issue for the party now is to find someone else with that all important gift, alongside a vision and emotional pull that resonates with the electorate in line with Lib Dem core values.
    History has shown many times that the right policies, the right market conditions & enough money is not enough.

    5. The next leader will need to be a great orator (or have a loyal deputy who is) and above all the tuition fees boil will have to be lanced once and for all. Rebuilding trust is crucial.

    6. Tim, you are a good man, an inspiring motivator, and you almost certainly rescued the party you love when they needed you most. For that they should be eternally grateful.

    7. People compelled by faith to follow a career in politics to serve others are rare and much needed. I am not religious myself, but deeply respect those who are.
    Spend some quality time with your family, restore your rightful majority in the beautiful part of the world that is your home and sleep well.
    You have served your party magnificently!

  • @George Crozier – Nick wasn’t a special case, he was a disaster. He left the party to Tim or Norman and neither had any cards to play. He had given them, and Liberal Democracy all away in an attempt to make the whole nation Tory. He sacrificed our councillors, our MSPs, our AMs, MEPs and ultimately our MPs and party on his conceit.

    Luck gave Tim one random card, Brexit, and Tim played it and with a superhuman effort by us all in Richmond Park, got us noticed. Sadly May took it away before it could really become a powerful tool, and all we have now is the burned out hulk Nick left us with.

    All of those in the delegation who visited Tim are a disgrace to our party, our values and our vision. They should doubly hang their heads in shame because they have ensured our final oblivion as a party after doing nothing to save it from 2010 to 2015, and they have squandered 40 years of work of so many liberals who built our party up. None of them could hold a candle to Tim or David Penhalygon who would have rightly given them short shrift and probably a good slap. They need it.

  • @Thomas L
    It is not doublespeak to be both christian and Liberal. I have a number of views on life linked to my faith, I would never seek to force anyone else to share them, let alone try to enact laws based upon them.

    Being liberal means I respect peoples right to have any religion or none as long as they do not seek to impose it on others.

  • Sue Sutherland 14th Jun '17 - 10:51pm

    From a couple of Lib Dem sites on Facebook the rumour is that he was apparently visited by a triumvirate including Ashdown. For someone who was still undoubtedly grieving because we didn’t do better and because his majority decreased so much in his own seat to be “persuaded” to resign by a few grandees so soon after the election when a proper analysis of what happened has yet to be made is illiberal and totally high handed and derogatory to the wider membership. In addition my local party is being asked to be careful of what they say on Lib Dem sites. This smacks of muzzling the membership to me. It was bad enough in Coalition when secrecy seemed rife but we believe in open government!
    So three names have emerged as possible members of a triumvirate. I’m not an expert on our party’s constitution but I seem to remember that a certain number of members is required to call a special conference. I’m afraid I no longer have the energy to organise anything like that but I really think we members should see if there’s enough support for this or to petition Tim to stand again.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 14th Jun '17 - 10:52pm

    Sorry folks but Brian Padick is on the ultra liberal wing I mention, not the Orange Book, or the traditional nonsense spouted of economic or social Liberal divide.

    Where were the moderate defenders of minority religious rights, a Liberal cause for centuries, in the debate on faith schools. Did anyone notice Tim rightly did not put the ultras favoured policy in the manifesto ?

    The anti-religious brigade are in danger of turning our party in to the sort of libertarian left party on the continent that get two per cent !

    A strong sense of good vs evil is at the heart of Tim. Asked the purpose of prison, his answer , to punish.

    It is the libertarian left that are gaining a foothold in liberalism in the USA which is why they support abortion up until birth !

    Roll on the creation of a centre party …or this one to become one again!

  • “In which case we are kidding ourselves if we think we yet live in a tolerant, liberal society.” (Tim Farron)

    It is an outrage that Tim feels he was forced to choose between his Christian faith and leadership of the Lib Dems.

    Those who have conspired against him should hang their heads in shame for their illiberal behaviour.

    It shows how sometimes commitment to liberalism, as a small self-appointed group define it, has led to intolerance.

  • #WeBackTim

  • David Becket 14th Jun '17 - 11:03pm

    This will harm the party and delay the next stage in moving forward. We need to know who did this. We also cannot go back to Orange Book liberalism.
    I have been critical of the campaign and of Tim’s part, but as far as Tim is concerned it was recoverable, he has come a long way in two years. It is the “suits” behind this we need to get to.

    Why o why was it done on the day of that blg fire?

  • David Pocock 14th Jun '17 - 11:05pm

    Thing is liberalism has a very simple and elegant view on these things. You believe what you want and don’t force that on others.

    There is no reason that there should be a divide on Christian liberal and Atheist liberals. None at all. Tim might believe what he will, did he put it in the manifesto or did he campaign on an anti gay ticket?

    This just stinks.

    Also when will the delegation coming forward?

  • David Crichton 14th Jun '17 - 11:07pm

    While I do not believe there is any compelling reason for Tim to stand down and I am genuinely sorry he has gone, I also respect his decision to do so. This is therefore no time for recrimination or personal criticism, but to agree how we can build on both the immutable principles of Liberal Democracy and on the enthusiasm of those who have joined us in recent months. Never forget that both the Labour Party and the Conservatives would dearly like to see no other successful national party and with Labour now firmly under the control of the left and the Tories moving rightwards with the help of the DUP we are needed even more than ever (no offence intended to the Greens). So can I first beg those who have posted here and the others whom I know feel the same way not to quit but to add your support to this effort? In the 53 years since I joined the Liberal Party I have seen ups and downs – some worse than now – and Tim will be the ninth leader to go in that time. All have been missed but we have gone on – and will this time. One thought: we have never had a female leader… Personally I cannot think of a better candidate than Jo Swinson – if she is prepared to take on the hassle of leadership – but of course that will be up to all our members to decide.

  • Carolyn Mann 14th Jun '17 - 11:12pm

    I absolutely agree we have to get to the bottom of this. Who did this and why? The timing is appalling. Those who asked Tim to resign need to come out and admit who they are why they did this. We need another election. With Tim on the ballot.

  • Simon Anderson 14th Jun '17 - 11:22pm

    I am saddened that Tim has stood down and I really respect him for his efforts on behalf of Liberalism. He is someone of great integrity and I want to wish him well. I think we ,as members, deserve to hear about the actions of those who went to see Tim to presumably ask him to stand down. What mandate did they have to do this? It sounds very illiberal to me.

    If Tim was on the ballot paper again he would have my vote.

  • Philip Rolle 14th Jun '17 - 11:25pm

    Ultimately, the party got a lower share of the vote than in the disastrous 2015 election. The party leader must carry the can for this. While many Lib Dems think the world of Tim Farron, his opponents see him as a lightweight and are unworried by his leadership of the party. A change was therefore required. But not because of his attitude towards homosexuality, which any tolerant person ( gay or otherwise ) ought to have been able to deal with. Christians have in the past been responsible for much anti gay sentiment and that has been immensely damaging. But in my opinion Tim dealt with the issue as well as he reasonably could have done. It may well now have become impossible for a Christian to lead a progressive party in this country – but that should not be considered a desirable outcome. It is probably a sign that aggressive minority activism has become mainstream, and is in danger of eroding the liberty that it successfully sought to achieve.

  • Charles Kennedy was a Catholic but was never hounded over homosexually and surely allot of our other leaders have been Christian so why the hell is this happening?

    Whoever was in this delegation should be expelled from the party, Tim was elected by the party membership they have no right to do this.

  • So this is now a media story. Not just the fact Tim has resigned, but the way it was forced. Secret cabals of ‘the great and the good’ in Westminster deciding who can and can’t be our leader, and signaling that people of faith are not welcome in the LDs. Great. Thanks so much guys. Days/weeks of awful publicity now, before we go back to having a leader who voted for tuition fees. :=((
    Tim – you deserve so much better. But be assured that many of us ‘ordinary’ membership still love you and are grateful for all your hard work. Yes you made mistakes, but you got so much right.

  • So disillusioned. Agree @Paul Walter, although Simon Hughes did get some serious rebuke on LDV when he spoke in the equal marriage debate in Parliament, if I remember rightly.

    People are getting wise to opportunism in politics. They won’t stand for it any longer. Tim was gaining in popularity and stature. If it turns out to be a ‘coup’, rather than a voluntary resignation then I fear the game is up.

  • Richard Underhill 14th Jun '17 - 11:50pm

    Our shadow home secretary should be in the commons.

  • I’m torn. I think that Tim is right and this demonstrates that we do live in an illiberal society. There should be space for all beliefs, because the alternative allows tyranny to tip-toe in. The fact that he has been forced out by these constant questions shows that people in Britain only value diversity that they like. The public wants windows into men and women’s souls, even if, like me, they don’t believe they have one.

    On the other hand, he couldn’t escape these questions and it totally dominated our campaign. I think more people had heard something about Tim’s beliefs on gay sex than even knew that we wanted a second referendum. So from a ruthlessly practical perspective, I don’t think he would be serving us best to continue as leader, even though he’s been a good one. He got me to join the party for God’s sake. (Or FFS. Take your pick.)

    The only way he could get past this was by explaining the concept of sin and redemption. Everyone is born a sinner, and they sin all the time, every day in a multitude of ways, and the whole point of evangelical Christianity is to embrace humility as a path to redemption. To exclude gay sex from this belief system would be ridiculous, and place it above other sorts of sins like adultery, lust, masturbation etc. He wasn’t singling out gay sex as sinful. But explaining this – if it was even possible in a soundbite – would seem bizarre, and probably worse than not saying anything.

    Living in an illiberal society shows that people don’t really understand what liberal values are, let alone why they are important. We need to do something about that. We really do.

  • Douglas McLellan 14th Jun '17 - 11:59pm

    This issue has always been his achillies heel though.

    He actually signed a letter that asked “On what scientific research or empirical evidence have you based this decision?” when the ASA said that street healers were “no longer able to claim, in their advertising, that God can heal people from medical conditions.”

    I mean, really…..

    Then we have the CARE interns. Least said about those bigots being welcomed into Lib Dem MP office the better.

    And even his resignation letter is problematic. Liberal Christians reading note that it calls into question their Christianity. They follow the Bible but Tim seems to be suggesting because he follows it correctly, he finds it harder than others. Which isnt a good look.

  • It is entirely appropriate that a person seeking election to the position of Prime Minister of Britain be held accountable for ALL of their views and beliefs, as the consequences of a person being in such a position of power is immense. If some views when held up to that scrutiny, seem at odds with some political aims, then they should be challenged.
    It is a concern that not all such candidates have been questioned on these matters to an equal degree of vigor, e.g. Mrs May , and her new allies who apparently have a significant block of activists who think that the Earth is under 10,000 years old 🙁

  • I’m reading this thinking how weird and cult-like the Lib Dems look.

  • “Why wasn’t Charles Kennedy, a devout Roman Catholic, asked similar questions? Why do Shirley Williams and Simon Hughes and Theresa May, all devout Christians, not get this flack?”

    Because none of them gave evasive answers to legitimate questions. None of them showed the agonised indecision which – sorry – was revealed as a fatal flaw. I really hate having to say that, because there are so many things I admire about Tim. But a fatal flaw it was. Reminiscent of Jimmy Carter’s fatal indecisiveness over the Iran hostage crisis in 1980, when he dithered over the critical decision to mount a rescue operation. A leader has to lead. A leader cannot afford to agonise and dither about difficult moral issues.

    “Secret cabals of ‘the great and the good’ in Westminster deciding who can and can’t be our leader”

    Now that’s a different question altogether. That was a disgrace. There was absolutely no need to force this resignation prematurely, and to do it in a secretive and elitist manner. Apart from anything else, it was crazy to do it on the day of a national disaster, and it was crazy to do it when the government confidence-and-supply agreement is still hanging in the balance. Those who forced the premature resignation have shown far poorer judgment than Tim Farron, and should face far bigger problems within this party than Tim has done.

  • Katharine Pindar 15th Jun '17 - 12:08am

    We the ordinary members should not accept this. Tim seems to have felt forced to resign after a delegation of Lords asked him to. It is the members who choose the leader, so that that approach was undemocratic and illiberal. Tim should stay on until a formal leadership contest is held at a time of the party’s choosing, and then be a candidate. The wealth of support for him shown here along with the dismay and condemnation of the attack on him demands it.

    If we need a special conference, so be it, but I would rather that Tim agrees to stay on for the present, since he can be a far more valuable contributor to the Brexit negotiations than Theresa May. We need him to lead us in having our say in the inter-party consultations that should now take place, to achieve as good an outcome for our country as is possible.

  • Andrew Fitton 15th Jun '17 - 12:13am

    I think Tim Farron is a great MP, advocate of the Party and was a brilliant chairman. In my opinion, to what extent has he been able to demonstrate the Lib Dems are a party of substance with great policies has been harder during his period of leadership.

    Jo Swinson appeals to me and I think would have real empathy and substance with younger people, families and liberals of all ages. I don’t think she would capture the traditional middle aged and senior tory voters who might be attracted to (say) Boris Johnson but then the Liberal party never would. I think she could show a Boris Johnson belongs in a different time in politics. I think she would give an option to those who look at Jeremy Corbyn and John Macdonald and worry. I think she is one of those fine politicians who makes the positive case and does not aggressively attack which is undesirable to many voters.

  • Graham Evans 15th Jun '17 - 12:21am

    Contrary to what some people seem to think, Christians are not a persecuted minority, either in the country or in the Party, so it is perfectly legtimate to questiion whether the Party leader’s faith represents the broad consensus of liberals among the electorate, for it is this group to whom the Party is primarily appealing. When a Muslim such as Sadiq Khan from the Labour Party and a Roman Catholic such as Ian Duncan-Smith from the Conservative Party can unequivocally caste their votes in support of gay marriage, while a LD leader cannot then it is hardly surprising that secular liberals will have doubts about the commitment of that party to promote their interests and share their values. By his resignation Tim has gone some way to ease these doubts.

  • Matt (Bristol) 15th Jun '17 - 12:25am

    Tim has actually said relatively little in the kind of detail people weirdly seem to feel would be needed about what his ‘views’ are.

    The issue is, he seems to occupy a position on the Christian theological spectrum that people feel gives them free rein to speculate on what those views might be.

    This on a day when the DUP are in downing street.

  • I would like to pay tribute to the sterling work provided by Tim Farron MP during his time as Party Leader and particularly during the recent general election. Sure, he got a few things wrong but he also got a lot right and is head and shoulders above the Westminster Bubble pygmies who were responsible for the Party’s nose-dive under Nick Clegg and who still know no more now than they did when they sent our Party’s electoral fortunes back 50 years. Tim has fallen foul of a vicious palace coup by these no-marks who have now managed to give the electorate another good reason for not voting Lib Dem – we are apparently religiously-intolerant (of course, we are not but that won’t matter). Tim’s biggest mistake was his good-humoured tolerance. When he came in, he should have ‘drained the swamp’. He has fallen victim to the ‘men in grey suits when it is perhaps those with white coats who need to have rounded up his detractors.

  • Jim Alexander 15th Jun '17 - 12:43am

    Caron Lindsay 14th Jun ’17 – 8:18pm
    I am livid and heartbroken that such a fundamentally decent guy has been forced out like this. It was inevitable that those who don’t like him would have a go. Those responsible should be ashamed of themselves, though.

    The Parties Performance at the elections was awful – the perception of Tim Farron to the electorate was that he was pretty much irrelevant

    We lost votes in areas where we used to be strong and the 3 seats gained in Scotland were due to tactical voting by Tories otherwise we wouldn’t have won them

    Tim Farron is the Party Leader he takes responsibility – the fact this had to be pointed out to him cleary shows how out of touch he is with the World beyond Lib Dem Activists

    We gained membership due to our strong stance on Europe – he actually backed off that during the interview with Andrew Marr – that was a car crash

    Why wouldn’t the press ask questions on his stance on Abortion & Gay Rights HE MADE THE STATEMENTS in the past – the Press didn’t make them up – Corbyn had every bit of his past raked over so can we stop the “poor tim” nonsense

    The Party hasn’t moved forward – double the membership but stagnant in the polls – one nett gain in England three in Scotland that was anti SNP not pro Lib Dem

    Take a look at our vote in Argyle & Bute where we had an MP for decades – thats repeated all over the UK

    The “person” is irrelevant we are all decent people – but our job is to gain power to make a difference -Tim Farron failed so he had to go

    Hand Wringing doesn’t win elections

  • Jim Alexander 15th Jun '17 - 12:54am

    LibDemDavid 14th Jun ’17 – 8:25pm
    Jim Alexander
    No Charles Kennedy didn’t have to go he was forced out

    Charlie Kennedy had to go because he was a drunk – you cant have someone who is willing to sacrifice everything for Alcohol in a position of Authority – stop rewriting history

    What part of the GE Campaign do you think was successful – a Right Wing Tory Party an extreme left Labour Party and our share of the vote didn’t improve on an election over Europe – seriously ?

  • Lorenzo Cherin 15th Jun '17 - 12:58am

    Mike S

    To put it mildly, that’s marvellous , Tim should read what we say, it might cheer him up .

    George Kendall

    As usual you talk from the head and heart too, as a social democrat in the SDP vein, they and you usually did and do, your comments should be read with mine on the ultra liberal tendency destroying the scope of us as a mainstream party in favour of being one for prostitutes , prisoners and pot ! I back all good men and women and true , but not at the expense of the important things that matter the most.

    Katharine Pindar

    We need you in politics, your kindness is wonderful. Let’s not encourage Tim to be on the ballot but to enjoy himself being free , very Liberal ! And let’s do what George rightly says we cannot yet comment on, get to the bottom of this undemocratic coup of the ultras !!!

  • Peter Watson 15th Jun '17 - 1:06am

    This is a great shame.

    I am no longer a practising Christian or a practising Lib Dem, but so much of this seems to contradict the principles I have always associated with both of those things.

    It calls into question the competency and ethics of senior Lib Dems. Norman Lamb made Tim Farron’s faith an issue in the leadership contest: this effectively invited the media to raise questions that have not been asked of other political leaders. The timing of what looks like a move by some in the party against their leader is also appalling as a tragedy has unfolded elsewhere today.

    If Tim Farron and his religious faith are made scapegoats for the party’s inability to make progress over the last 2 years, then the party risks failing to learn from the mistakes of his predecessor that laid the party so low and changed the way the party is perceived, underestimating just how damaging that was. The strategy has been fundamentally flawed: focusing on Brexit and assuming that anti-Brexit and anti-Corbyn voters would drift in automatically, forgiving and forgetting Clegg and Coalition, as long as the party said nothing on other issues to scare them away.

    More than one person, even when that person is the leader, is to blame for the failure of the party to make a break with the recent past after 2015, and the failure to present a compelling and consistent Lib Dem vision to vote for. The only silver lining I can see for the party is that perhaps a leadership contest will allow at least one candidate to step up to present such a vision and a plan for change.

  • Eddie Sammon 15th Jun '17 - 1:07am

    Jim Alexander, Charles Kennedy had an illness, let’s not speak about a dead person like they just had a lack of will power. Your first message about a dependency problem is fairer.

    In other news, I’ve finally re-joined the party, but it had nothing to do with Tim’s resignation and just me finally sorting my finances out and earning money again.

    Let’s try to be positive going forward. Tim is still a great member of the team.

  • Jim Alexander 15th Jun '17 - 1:31am

    Jim Alexander, Charles Kennedy had an illness, let’s not speak about a dead person like they just had a lack of will power. Your first message about a dependency problem is fairer.

    Thats incorrect at no point was it ever suggested that Charles Kennedy was an Alcoholic which I agree is an illness – he was capable of being sober for reasonable periods of time which an Alcoholic couldn’t do – this is all in the public domain – its being suggested that there was a plot to remove Charles Kennedy – pointing out the simple facts isn’t speaking ill of the dead as they were stated when he was alive

  • The next leader must be someone who voted against tuition fee hike.

  • Yellow Submarine 15th Jun '17 - 2:04am

    In the unlikely event Tim restands in the leadership election I shall rejoin the party to vote for him. This is basically a deeply illiberal attempt to make a person’s private religious views a thought crime. All that matters in the case is a person’s political liberalism and how that plays out in policy stances. Thanks seems like a classic case of someone being enslaved by conformity.

  • Jim – so who exactly would be more ‘relevant’ as a leader then? I hope Jo Swinson is as good as people are hoping because she appears to be the only viable option as a replacement…

    The party as a whole is irrelevant – that’s nothing new. An increase in MPs is a good result in context and under the circumstances, the vote share obviously very poor – but it was very poor before. The campaign was fairly flat and failed to resonate but as was the last one in 2015 when we were absolutely decimated – this was hardly make or break for Tim so if he’s being forced out for the result, that seems very short sighted, and if he’s being forced out for that nonsense over his faith, as others have said, its just shameful.

    If I truly believed that the magic solution to changing the party’s fortunes was a leadership change seemingly coordinated in secret by a cabal of unelected Lords, I’d be more open minded right now, but y’know… its hard not to just feel disappointed.

    Graham – personally, as a secular liberal, I have had absolutely no doubts about Tim’s commitment to the kind of values I hold.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 15th Jun '17 - 3:49am


    For anyone for the emphasis to be on the tuition fees vote, your choice of new leader is limited to only new mps !

    Layla Moran it is then ?! A little too early though a contender on the grounds of many excellent qualities.

    Why is that the only criteria ? That our current leader voted against them has done him no good with the media or public , only the party.

    Move on , the coalition is old news.

  • Bill le Breton 15th Jun '17 - 5:16am

    Jonathan Calder has written a good piece on this affair http://liberalengland.blogspot.gr/2017/06/the-men-in-sandals-come-for-tim-farron.html

    I quibble with M’lord Bonker’s title, ‘The Men in Sandals Come for Tim Farron’ – rather fittingly in today’s Liberal Democrats, they came in Paul Smith suits and ermine.

    And with M’Lord’s use of a remembered quote from Nick Cohen viz. while we say we are fed up with indentikit PPE-and-think-tank politicians, the truth is that anyone who departs from (this) model is hounded for it.

    It is not the people who want to be led by the PPC-ocracy, for which read whatever is today’s plutocracy. It is the elites who wish to be led by one of their own – not a startling realisation surely?

    The people, in this case the members, only have, in most cases, the final say between members of the prevailing elite – rather like choosing between Bedford and Aberdeen 150 years ago.

    What happened yesterday was that a few party members demonstrated that their votes (for a leader) counted for more than yours or mine.

    Equal votes for all, do I hear you cry?

    Not in the Liberal Democrats!

    “Land to the people!”

  • Georgestealsbiscuits 15th Jun '17 - 5:59am

    To people who say that Farron is a homophobe; go home, he voted for same sex marriage and this is therefore a non-issue. The concept of free will is a fundamental doctrine in Christianity and to me, the two philosophies overlap quite nicely. By comparison, socialism’s atheist tendencies often deterred me.

  • There is much talk about about how Tim was ‘visited’ and asked to resign…

    Is it too much to ask his ‘visitors’, if they exist, to identify themselves?

  • I would recommend people talk to voters outside the party before reaching a firm conclusion.

    For this is probably the right thing but done in a horribly wrong way by bad people on the worst of days.

    Two months ago we had a tremendous opportunity, with a distinctive approach to the issue of the day and, in contrast to our opponents, a leader with proven campaigning skills and a united party. The other parties had vacated the centre ground. Yet our campaign was an utter disaster, and outside a tiny handful of seats won by narrow margins, we are now almost irrelevant to the political debate and attracted a derisory number of votes.

    There are people in HQ and who steered and managed the campaign who must and hopefully will shoulder a large share of the responsibility. Our national campaign was risible and contributed precisely nothing to the few seats we now hold. But the leader must carry the can, and it is a sad truth that despite being a huge asset to the party, Tim did not come across well during the election.

    By resigning yesterday on the most appalling choice of days and making religion v sexuality the issue, Paddick has done the party a huge disservice, and my respect for him is utterly gone. His focus should have been on the campaign. Tim should step down because, sadly, he can’t deliver what we need from him.

    As far as the coming contest is concerned, it is quite simple. Watch who Paddick any other identified conspirators are supporting, and think very carefully.

  • clive english 15th Jun '17 - 7:32am

    let us be clear to those who said it hear Tim Farron did not ever say he thought gay sex was a sin in fact he said the exact opposite. The mistake was trying to point out accurately that this was not actually the point, that Liberalism meant supporting people’s rights to do things whether or not you disagreed with them,
    secondly the only time he did not vote for gay marriage had absolutely nothing to do with an opposistion to said issue, but was about trans rights, hardly the action of a bigot.
    I think I want to know who this delegation was and what they are doing in a Liberal Party. I also wish certain people would stop peddling the outright lie that Farron is homophobic, cack handed maybe but that’s another issue.

  • As a Christian minister with a long track record of fighting for gay liberation (not to mention more than 50 years in the party) I have no problem in describing opposition to consensual gay sex as profoundly wrong, immoral and illiberal. I wouldn’t use the word “sinful” for homophobia or anything else because it is too much of an in-word among certain types of religious people to facilitate meaningful debate. Within the rich diversity of Christian tradition I can be diametrically opposed to some Christians on the matter – there is either no Christian position or several and as the Church of England discovered responding to minority viewpoints in respect of sexual matters can be painful. As with individual freedom there have to be limits to nonconformity (e.g. Trump) and for a political party this requires clear thinking rooted in philosophy and values.
    All that being said, while this week or next week may have been the right time for Tim to go (in spite of his many gifts), on the face of it the way it has happened does us no favours.

  • Lorenzo Cherin – Frankly, the Libdem message for young people in the recent election was crap, with no alternative to Labour’s tuition fee scrap plan (we could have offered an alternative). We could have won back Julian Huppert, Mulholand or Simon Hughes. These people are not Coalition members and thus can be good leadership candidate.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 15th Jun '17 - 7:47am

    I will admit that I have had my criticisms of Tim Farron’s decisions as leader, but this is not the time to speak of that. My reservations about his leadership have never had anything to do with his religious faith. Has he let his faith influence his politics? Yes, I think he probably has – in his passionate support for refugees and for the homeless. And in his conviction that a promise is a promise, and must not be broken. But if he does believe gay sex to be a sin, no-one could possibly have guessed it from his voting record, or from his words about everyone having the right to love whoever they choose.

  • Alex B – Lloyd voted for bedroom tax, so did Jo, Vince, Ed and Norman. But unlike them, Lloyd voted against tuition fee consistently, so I chose him. Greg Mulholand would have been my choice of he did not lose his seat.

  • Regardless of who succeeding Tim, he or she must continue Tim’s social liberal, Keynesian platform. If the new leader tries to revive the Orange Book or talk about a Coalition with Tories (even if national situation demand a Tory Coalition), he/she must be expelled. Let the Orange Book stay in the dustbin of history forever.

  • During 2010-2015, actually Libdem could have provided an extremely strong opposition by playing Republican Obstructionist game against the Tories.

  • Mark Humble 15th Jun '17 - 8:07am

    This is excellent news. As a gay man I was shocked and disappointed by Tim’s responses to questions about homosexuality. I am also a committed Christian but do not agree with Tim’s brand of Evangelical Christianity. The views of Evangelicals on matters such as homosexuality and abortion are completely at odds with those of liberals, both Christian and non-Christian, and those of the Liberal Democrats. It is not good enough to say that you believe in Evangelical preaching but at the same time believe in Liberal policies and a liberal society. The two views are not compatible.

    It is amusing to hear people blaming the media and other people for Tim’s fall from grace. It is the most patronising thing we can do not to blame people for their own mistakes. Tim handled the questions badly, even on the second and subsequent attempts, and ran a bad campaign. We lost votes and went backwards in many areas. It’s time for a change of leader and a change of approach.

  • Mark Humble 15th Jun '17 - 8:09am

    So John, you would expel me if I have the temerity to disagree with your views? That doesn’t seem very Liberal to me.

  • @Jim Alexander

    Whatever the reason Charles was removed, I’d still rather have a drunk Charles Kennedy in charge than many of those who appear to have knifed Tim.

    The more I think about this, the less I am able to express my anger. How on earth can we claim to be a liberal party if we cannot accept that some people will have views which we may disagree with? How can we be liberal if we cannot see that someone is protecting the rights and views of others even when their own beliefs may differ – is that not the mark of a true liberal?

    It may well be that there are some “grandees” who think that the campaign was a bit lacklustre, and that Tim should have addressed his views more fully early on. Fine – but those same “grandees” have been around for the last two years, so why did they not make their views known then?

    If, as seems to be the case, Tim was visited by three people and persuaded to resign, then they ought to have the guts to admit who they are and why they did it. Even Scrooge’s ghosts introduced themselves.

  • Philip Knowles 15th Jun '17 - 8:14am

    I think that it’s ironic that the pictures of Theresa May on Sunday were of her leaving church. So why were no questions aimed at her during the election? I suspect that this was one of Lynton Crosby’s stinking dead cats.
    What was needed after the election was a period of calm introspection. We lost a leader too soon after the 2015 election and now, from what seems to have been a personal self-indulgence from Lord Paddick and others, we have lost another.
    It wasn’t a great campaign but we did increase the number of MPs. We were fighting against a national media that wanted a two horse race and we were inevitably squeezed. Yes, we could have done better but ditching another leader isn’t the way to improve. Our membership has risen largely because of what Tim has done. He has passion and enthusiasm which is an asset for a party which spends too much time being thoughtful and considerate. Too often we present a logical, considered platform which gets ignored while our opponents present a passionate, illogical one and win.
    We need more of Tim’s passion not less – and I speak as one who didn’t vote for him – but I was glad that he won.

  • Stephen Howse 15th Jun '17 - 8:19am

    Tony D said:-

    “Tim has fallen foul of a vicious palace coup by these no-marks who have now managed to give the electorate another good reason for not voting Lib Dem – we are apparently religiously-intolerant (of course, we are not but that won’t matter).”

    We’re not homophobic and Tim is not homophobic but that didn’t matter either…

  • I’m rather annoyed this has happened even though I thought I thought Tim hadn’t performed well in the election campaign, but had done very well up to that point. He seems to be in his element in ‘positive’ campaigning but really struggles in the ‘negative’ such as when Channel 4 is geared up for a gatcha interview and then the fall out from that.

    I think this was really badly done, for any pressure to be applied yesterday for many reasons. I can’t see that any MPs would have been keen on this outcome at this point.

    Some have suggested in the past that this issue is the fault of internal questions during the leadership campaign, we shouldn’t encourage people not to ask difficult questions during these campaigns. They will be asked later in the media, better to get the question and learn how to handle it than be unprepared.

    For those who are angry about how it happened (I’m just annoyed by it) remember Tim may well have actually chosen to go over the summer, it can’t be pleasant to be constantly accused of being a bigot and not have an effective way to actually have a nuanced discussion about your actual views. I still wouldn’t be confident exactly what Time beliefs are as nothing is added by soundbite discussions.

  • Paul Kennedy 15th Jun '17 - 8:36am

    This is an incredibly damaging resignation statement. Exhaustion, needing to spend more time with his family, disappointment with the election result, almost any other reason I could have understood and supported, but not this. I don’t share Tim’s religious views, but he has always stayed true to his liberal principles and to the membership in a way that others have not. He kept me in the party in 2010 when I and many others were raging over tuition fees. I appreciate that he was thinking of the best interests of the party when he resigned, but I do hope once he has had a chance to reflect (and sleep) that he will reconsider and stand in the forthcoming leadership election, not least in order to encourage as many liberals from all backgrounds as possible to be part of our membership and vote.

  • David Becket 15th Jun '17 - 8:42am

    The next leader has to explain how he/she is going to lance the Tuition Fees boil. If this is ignored the press will hound him/her at the next election and the damage will be worse than that done to Tim. There are alternatives, and we should be exploring them now.

    As for the hounding out, we need the names and we need to ensure that they do not have a position of responsibility in this party.

  • John Bicknell 15th Jun '17 - 8:42am

    Tim’s views on homosexuality were, to paraphrase Voltaire, that he disapproves of what they do, but defends to the death their right to do it. That wasn’t enough for the new orthodoxy (no more tolerant than centuries ago, it’s just the boundaries that have changed). The accusations in social media that he was a homophobic bigot (from David Baddiel, David Walliams et all) pursued him like a ringing curse throughout the election. Was that enough reason for him to resign? I don’t think so, there were other, more important factors that were wrong with the GE campaign. If the current parliament looks like running to a full term, it is not unreasonable to consider whether someone else might be better to lead us into the next election, but to force Tim out at this stage, and for this reason, seems at the very least premature.

  • To those who are essentially saying that it is okay for the party leader to have private views substantially in conflict with their public platform: I recognise there is a spectrum of religious belief and one may legitimately believe those views and not wish to impose them on others. However some views will be more problematic than others. If we were talking about racism or antisemitism, there would be outrage that a party leader held such abhorrent views in private even if they had a spotless record on voting for equal rights. Homosexuality and abortion seem to have fallen in this grey area where it’s fine to be against the rights of these communities in private while supporting them wholeheartedly in public. Not a good look but of course something I have to tolerate as a member of a ‘broad church’, I suppose…

  • I’m not a LD, just an observer. Don’t understand why Farron felt he had to resign. He wasn’t challenged that hard compared with the rubbish chucked at Corbyn for instance, and questions were about public utterances he had offered in interviews rather than private views per se. Sadiq Khan was challenged on similar issues of faith and let his voting record speak for itself.

    This is more about politics than faith, surely, if he was pressured into resigning. If the Tories anti-austerity turn is true, combined with the socially illiberal partners, then there is room for a more right-wing economic liberalism with a more laissez faire individualist social stance. Orange Book could be the best niche for the Lib Dems now.

  • Mark Humble – The problem is the toxic neo-liberal Orange Book itself. It was the root cause of the Libdem collapse, by allowing Clegg and Co to easily compromise with The Tories. Without that Book, the goal of Libdem could have been “making Cameron a one-term loser” rather than joining him. I did remember that when Ramsey MacDonald decided to join National Government, his Labour Party expelled him ruthlessly.

  • Stephen Shephard 15th Jun '17 - 8:58am

    I’m sad about this. I voted for Tim as leader partly because he kept his promise to vote against the tuition fee hike, partly because he always came across as very sincere and often managed that Ashdown-like trick of besting an interviewer with a yes/no answer to a question. I think if he had become leader before the 2015 election when the media still paid attention to us, then we would have held on to many more of our MPs.

    I don’t know whether it is currently possible to lead a liberal party holding the nuanced view that your principles of tolerance determine your actions rather than your personal religious views, but I don’t think it is possible to spend so much of your rare airtime appearing evasive when the party’s big issue is regaining trust. Theresa May was also asked whether she thought gay sex was a sin and answered ‘no’ clearly and simply. Of course it is unfair that she was not then challenged on her voting record, but I still think that Tim needed to work out a better way of dealing with this in the two years since becoming leader.

  • I’m baffled by Tims resignation. He has already confirmed that he does not consider gay sex to be a sin, so why does he feel he has to choose between his party and his religion? Genuinely confused!

  • LibDemDavid 15th Jun '17 - 9:02am

    Jim Alexander 15th Jun ’17 – 12:54am

    No I am not going to be dictated to you about my support for Charles Kennedy who was more than capable of holding his own in debates and on policy but not given the necessary support to continue in his role. He was pressurised to leave and to say the he was willing to sacrifice everything for alcohol is a total lie and slur.

    Many people don’t see the Labour campaign as extreme left wing as you do since their manifesto was agreed by the whole party and sanctioned by MPs on the right as well as left.

    From my experience, the campaign on social liberal issues was well received. The election was not an obsession with the EU and the number of seats increased with the vote share staying roughly the same. Hardly the negative picture you paint but one of a step in the right direction if not spectacular. The party had been decimated by Nick Clegg but you seem to ignore this in all your comments instead blaming Tim and the social liberals instead of your Orange Booker chums who caused the real damage and are determined to erode support even further.

  • Mark Humble 15th Jun '17 - 9:02am

    John – I disagree with you about the Orange Book and your lazy description of it as “neo-liberal”. It was not the cause of the Lib Dem collapse. You seem to forget that it was that version of Liberalism that won us 50 plus seats in 2010. And you don’t answer my main point. Am I to be expelled because I disagree with you?

  • Angry Steve 15th Jun '17 - 9:07am

    @Mark Humble
    “You seem to forget that it was that version of Liberalism that won us 50 plus seats in 2010. ”

    Sorry, but that is not true. Orange-bookery does not extend to the anti-austerity and preventing tuition fees rising platform that Clegg campaigned on in 2010.

  • Mike,

    “If the Tories anti-austerity turn is true, combined with the socially illiberal partners, then there is room for a more right-wing economic liberalism with a more laissez faire individualist social stance. Orange Book could be the best niche for the Lib Dems now.”

    Einstein summed up your proposal very well “”doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. Yellow bookers had their chance it ended very, very badly to return to that would be the death of the Lib Dems, they truly would have to be terminally dense to try that again.

  • I reached the point where I no longer trusted Tim, in that when his faith and liberalism came into conflict his first instinct was to follow his faith. This speech confirms I was right.

    To answer one of Paul’s points above, Theresa May was asked if she thought gay sex was a sin. She said “No.”

    There are those who say that what the leader of a Liberal party actually believes isn’t important but how they vote. I just can’t agree with that view – and would point out that this apparent keystone tenet was never something mentioned pre Tim’s leadership.

  • Cllr Fran Oborski MB 15th Jun '17 - 9:13am

    There is something very wrong in the Party if a Leader who had been clearly elected by a majority of members can be forced out following a “delegation” which appears to have included a gaggle of unelected Peers!
    Yes Tim could have handled the questions on gay rights better during the election but, for many thousands of members he was the ONLY potential Leader not tainted with the awful decisions of the coalition on Tuition Fees and the Bedroom Tax.
    For the media, all of whom these days are “illiberal” to have hounded him is to be expected. For his Party colleagues to have joined in is totally unforgivable. Those individuals should do us all a favour and resign!
    We had a poor GE Campaign, the messages from the Party centrally were muddled but, despite everything Tim kept working!
    These are sad, sad times for Liberalism which seems not to matter to some in this Party!

  • Roger Billins 15th Jun '17 - 9:15am

    The tuition fees problem-publically accept that it was a mistake and advocate its replacement by a graduate tax and the cancellation of the increase in student loans from its inception. Job done-move on to the things that really matter-a collapsing economy, a disintegrating health service and brexit.

  • Carolyn Mann 15th Jun '17 - 9:15am

    I would have accepted a regular leadership contest as a sign of a healthy, growing party. That is what we need now. With Tim on the ballot. The difficulty that any other contender will face is that we will be left wondering how much they were in cahoots with the “men in suits”.

  • Ryan McAlister 15th Jun '17 - 9:19am


    You clearly have never read the orange book. I tend to find that most of it’s critics have not, which explains their wildly inaccurate characterisation of it. It is of course more an anthology of essays than a cohesive narrative in any case.

  • Theresa May is every bit a committed Christian as Tim Farron. No doubt indoctrinated from birth by her vicar father she nevertheless didn’t get herself into a position during the election campaign where it became any sort of issue. Tim was asked to deal with questions arising from his religious faith during his leadership campaign but he wouldn’t. That was a big mistake and the fall out will probably cause problems in our party for some time to come.

  • Bill le Breton 15th Jun '17 - 9:38am

    We must have names.

    I have therefore emailed the Chair and Chief Executive of the ALDC – the body that represents the front line campaigners in this Party thus;

    On behalf of the Party’s Councillors and Campaigners will you both please insist on being told the names of those who visited our former Leader and gave him the ultimatum to resign and publish these to the members of the Association.”

    May I urge you to do something similar – the email address is https://www.aldc.org/contact-aldc/

    You do not have to be a member of the Party or of the Association or a Councillor to reach out to them. They have the authority to speak for the activists and the passionate.

  • Angry Steve 15th Jun '17 - 9:41am

    “Tim was asked to deal with questions arising from his religious faith during his leadership campaign but he wouldn’t.”

    He did answer them. The standard Christian theological response to such a question is to say that it is not for him to decide what is and what isn’t a sin – not judging others is a key tenet of Christianity. May’s response was shallow, meaningless and designed to advance her political career whereas Farron’s response was truthful and honest. Do you believe that it is Theresa May who is responsible for determining what is and isn’t a sin?

  • A nasty business, who are these apparent cowards who go nameless. I have no great worry about a change of Leader , life changes without warning, but they way this has apparently been done is disgraceful. They must have the guts to come out in the open.

  • Corbyn was asked, time and again, about where HIS views on nuclear retaliation, the monarchy, etc. differed from the Labour manifesto…His answer that it was not HIS manifesto, but rather a collective decision, did not seem to affect his standing…

    Perhaps, with hindsight, Tim could have been more forthright in the same manner …However, I believe that there is far more than a rehash of Tim’s past religious ‘struggles’ behind his removal/resignation…

  • @Frankie: You could be right, I don’t know the mood of the grassroots Lib Dem membership, just going on the noises I hear lurking here and from the papers. But one could say the same about the social democratic strand in the Lib Dems. In my opinion the SDP-strand was never anything other than a way to hamstring a genuinely left-wing Labour Party back in the day (cross ref: http://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/112666), and has no positive life beyond that role. And it’s not a role it can play today.

  • Steve Griffiths 15th Jun '17 - 10:07am


    “…a gaggle of unelected peers”. Quite beautifully put. Now we see our Lords have become our lords and masters. What a truly appalling epitaph for a party with our history.

  • Gareth Hartwell 15th Jun '17 - 10:10am

    The most important thing is that we stick together as a party and elect a new leader we can all support (and I very much hope that they will find a good role for Tim).

    I’ve always admired Tim (I’ve known him since we were both 18) and I voted for him as leader. While I don’t think the difficulties with the campaign were primarily his fault, I do think he did the right thing because it was in the wider interest of the party at this point to elect a new leader well before the next General Election which will probably take place in the Autumn.

    Brian Paddick is also a tremendous asset to our party and only did what he thought was right, please don’t blame him for TIm’s going because there was clearly much more to it than that and we need to come together now and make best use of Brian’s tremendous talent and experience too.

    Thanks so much for everything he has done.


  • Presumably in the light of all this the Deputy Leader idea gets shelved for now?

  • Matt (Bristol) 15th Jun '17 - 10:18am

    Well, today with what’s In the news, instead of doing this we could do with a passionate, empathetic party spokesperson with a past interest in housing issues, and good links with the Christian voluntary sector who are doing so much to react to the disaster situation in Kensington whilst the council appears poleaxed and residents are asking ‘how the hell did this happen?’…

    Anybody know where we could find someone like that? ….oh.

  • I hope the press reports are wrong in attributing “Grandees” for bringing about Tim’s resignation. Tim had been carrying a huge responsibility during the GE and must have been exhausted by the campaign.
    So I would be wary of the influence of so-called Grandees behind the scenes. We are [were] a democratic party and those of us who are party workers do not agree to former leaders, whoever they are, controlling the future direction of our party. Let us hope press reports are wrong and Tim’s decision was his alone.

  • Gareth, whether it was ‘the right thing’ or not is secondary to HOW it came about. 5.10pm, email from Tim, talking about the future. 6.39pm, email from Tim, resigning. We have a right to know what happened between. And to know who it was who – with no mandate from party members – who hounded him into it.

    Anyone putting their name forward in the leadership contest is going to have to distance themselves from this coup, or be suspected of collusion in it.

  • The irony of all this is that the questions re faith occupied the first two weeks of the campaign. It gave Labour a clear field which they uised magnificently. Without those questions that may not have happened and probably Mrs May would have had her large majority.

  • You don’t have to have read the OB to understand its mantra. I mean all these ex MPs like Laws and Browne even were more to the right than the Conservatives in the coalition government. In fact the Conservatives blatantly courted Laws and Browne. Don’t let them undermine and destroy all Tim’s good work on social liberalism and his anti austerity message. Questions must be asked and answered as to who was behind this coup.

  • Davey and Lamb seem to be the leadership candidates.

    That is where I would start my questioning.

  • theakes 15th Jun ’17 – 10:31am…………….The irony of all this is that the questions re faith occupied the first two weeks of the campaign. It gave Labour a clear field which they uised magnificently. Without those questions that may not have happened and probably Mrs May would have had her large majority……………

    I disagree! After all, 6 weeks before the election, polls showed Theresa May the most popular leader since the late 1970s (plus 61) and Jeremy Corbyn at an all time low (minus 42)…Corbyn was still being asked if he’d resign WHEN Labour were wiped out…

  • Rather than have the membership of the infamous “Delegation” revealed by a Journalist it would be better if they “Outed” themselves. Clearly no-one involved can be a Candidate for The Leadership or Deputy Leadership.

  • Angry Steve 15th Jun ’17 – 9:41am

    Personally I am not really that interested in what religious people think is ‘sin’. Religious ‘sin’ is usually why women, gay people and anyone who is a bit different gets a hard time.

    When I was a child I believed in God, Father Christmas and the Tooth Fairy. The last two went fairly quickly but God took a bit longer. The reason for that was, literally, the fear of God was put into me as to what would happen if I didn’t believe. Thankfully I eventually shook it off but nevertheless I will defend the right of anyone to believe in what they want. However any subsequent or linked actions have to stay within the law and not prejudice anyone else’s way of life.

  • @Robert

    “Personally I am not really that interested in what religious people think is ‘sin’. “

    OK – so you’ll condemn the questioning of what Farron thinks is a ‘sin’ then?

    “However any subsequent or linked actions have to stay within the law and not prejudice anyone else’s way of life.”

    Wow. Can you point me to where Farron didn’t stay within the law or prejudiced anyone else’s way of life?

    No. You have no answers.

  • Matthew Huntbach 15th Jun '17 - 11:10am


    I’m baffled by Tims resignation. He has already confirmed that he does not consider gay sex to be a sin, so why does he feel he has to choose between his party and his religion?

    This issue kept being raised again and again about him, and seriously damaged his ability to be able to promote the party. When we only have a small amount of media space covering what Tim Farron says and does, and a big proportion of it is given over to what his exact position on sexual issues might be, that means other issues get less coverage.

    It ought not to have been done and it is thoroughly illiberal. In effect what it says about the political and media establishment in this country is that in order to protect discrimination against homosexuals, it’s fine to discriminate against Christians. It says that if one has a personal viewpoint on some issue that differs from liberal orthodoxy, one must hide it. Free speech is banned, at least if one wants a political career. This is very dangerous because it is always a good idea that there should be ability to raise questions and discuss things, that used to be a core aspect of liberalism.

    The leader of a liberal democratic party should not be able to or wish to impose his personal views on that party, and at no point did Tim Farron suggest he wanted to. Tim Farron was also a vegetarian, but that was never raised. Why not? Suppose he kept being asked again and again “Is eating meat a wrong thing to do?”. Would that have been fair? I am sure that most vegetarians would feel a bit uncomfortable about being forced to say “No” to that, even if they would never want to stop anyone else from eating meat.

    Having said that, I do think Tim Farron did not do a good job as leader in the election, and so I think it was right for him to step down. I was never a keen supporter of him when he was being put forward as the most likely contender for the leadership on the left of the party. I felt he could and should have done more to break us out of the way the party has been viewed over the coalition. For example, on tuition fees he should have made it clear that this was NOT our ideal solution, as our attackers say, but rather a sad compromise forced on us because the only alternatives the Tories would have accepted would have been worse.

  • Andrew McCaig 15th Jun '17 - 11:12am


    I think you grossly overestimate the influence that any Lib Dem leader could have had on the general course of this campaign.

    However where I come from (Huddersfield), I had high hopes that we would improve on our 5.8% last time by appealing to strong Remain voters. Doorstep surveys showed that the lack of credibility of Tim Farron was one of the reasons we actually fell to 2.6%, including both Tory and Labour Remainers. The derisory vote we got in so many places was very shocking for me, and gaining a few MPs, largely through tactical voting does not compensate for this.

    I voted for Tim in the Leadership election because he kept the Pledge. That says a lot about how he regards politics compared to all the “Big Beasts” people are talking about. The way you do it is more important than any policy for me.. However I did have misgivings about the particular variety of Christianity that he espouses. Most Christians I know would never have been trapped by these questions about “sin”, because they don’t think sin is a very useful concept in the modern world… I think Tim was unfairly hounded about this but he did make his own bed on this by a series of equivocal answers going back to the Leadership contest. And unlike others I am not at all keen on some aspects of his resignation statement, which suggest that indeed his views as a Christian transcend his politics…..

    To be honest I expected Tim to resign following the election once he looked at the results as a whole, not just those in London and isolated seats in the south and Scotland. I do think we should have held onto the 10-12% we had at the start of the campaign, and that would have given us 4 more MPs for sure.

    However, the likely field of leadership contenders are going to have a lot of explaining to do to get my vote, and a new position on tuition fees (eg. graduate tax) different from our current one is essential if we are to make long term electoral progress.

  • @Robert

    I don’t know if you are a card-carrying Liberal Democrat but if you are might I gently suggest to you that there is no room in this party blatant and glaring religious intolerance.

    By the way, your caricature of religious belief is just that, a caricature. A poor one at that.

    In this party, we pride ourselves on taking the fight to the country in combatting poverty, ignorance and conformity. We also pride ourselves on giving each person the right to exercise their free conscience.

    With that in mind, perhaps you could spend some time reflecting on your remarks and their appropriateness.

  • Shaun Whitfield 15th Jun '17 - 11:25am

    I am not a LibDem member (and I am an atheist), but I would have voted for Tim Farron as leader if I were. However, it appears that he is struggling with reconciling his faith with the demands of political leadership. Certainly he has done at least one strange public act that was prompted by his faith (this was before he became leader):


    Basically, he and two other MPs disagreed with an ASA ruling that faith healers should not be able to claim they can heal the sick if they can produce no robust evidence.

  • Roy CHADWICK 15th Jun '17 - 11:36am

    The Party failed because it had no significant policies, particularly on taxation to offer and did not put forward a view of a less bureucratc EC which embraced national pride. Prior to the manifsto launch there should have been a daily briefing on a major issue. The media only seized on Tim’s conscience issues because there was nothing else about the Party to report. An honest, hard working man did his best as a fgurehead but did not lead.

    I have been looking through the list of Liberal Peers
    I think there are two who would have sufficient appeal and intellectual rigour to ensure that meaningful policies were developed
    They are both women
    Julie Smith would be my first choice (Foreign Affairs)
    Claire Tyler would be second (Home Affairs)
    Whichever one won could appoint the other as shadow foreign or home secretary
    They could then appoint policy teams for home and foreign affairs and a Shadow Chancellor, Vince Cable would be my suggestion
    The above would become the spokespeople for the Party
    The Deputy Leader, elected by MPs could be the main Commons spokesperson and figurehead. Jo would have my vote.

  • While seeing that Andrew McCaig above has a point about the results nationwide, I think there must be some doubt as to who else can take the party forward. Tim has the right balance on the Orange Book, in that he did not wholeheartedly support the OB position within the Coalition period. I am not sure we have anyone else in that position now, among our MPs. It is frankly untenable for anyone in our party to cleave to those views – the result for the sainted JC has shown that any form of neoliberalism has been given a resounding thumbs down by the electorate. It is ironic that the Kensington disaster occurred after the election, just re-emphasising how important effective regulation, and therefore proper spending on public services, and enforcement, is. The May manifesto had already recognised in lip service, anyway, that public services had something to offer. This has meant, in retrospect, how misguided our coalition thinking was in 2010.

    At this point, we need to recognise that some of the driving forces of the Brexit vote are just impossible, self-deceiving or both. The idea that regulation is radically reduced is just a destructive chimera, underpinned by a wish that we can have a good society without paying for it! We should NOT, therefore, ditch our main position, that there must be an opportunity for the British people to reconsider Brexit. People may not have been ready to vote for it this time – but all the trends are there to show that the pressure will be on for minds to change.

    So, in summary, don’t ditch the message OR the messenger, by a return to the foolish ways of 2010!

  • I became a member in 1985. This was the least effective GE campaign since.


    1. Campaign centred on offering a second Referéndum. This had no resonance outside a handful of seats. Offering first referendums – on Europe, Scottish Independence – was popular. Offering a second, when the result went the “wrong” way was not.
    We should have focussed on inreased spending on NHS, education and further tax cuts for the worst off.

    2. The hang-over from the tuition fees debacle, whihc Labour took advantage of brilliantly with their offer of eliminating tuition fees.

    3. Poor leadership. Apart from Tim’s complications with his religious faith – unnecessary in my view, if he’d given a sensible answer the first time he was asked – he made little impact personally. What’s more, he was one fo teh architects of the myopic focus on a second referéndum.

  • It’s worth noting the end of Tim’s speech, where he openly hints at a spiritual reason for his resignation.

    If there was a “delegation”, Tim was at perfect liberty to tell them where to go. He chose to resign; he wasn’t forced out.

  • Just reading through these comments again (and other feeds linked from this site), I’ve just read the link Dr Mark Wright posted above. This is well worth a read!


    Find the concluding paragraph below.
    I wonder if this is worth a separate article on this website, if someone feels qualified to take it on?
    I’d be very interested to hear what Liberal members of the LGBT community’s thoughts are too. Food for thought?

    “The politically correct movement is not only an intellectual and practical failure, it fails on the more basic level of human psychology.
    You cannot demand respect from others. You can only earn it. You cannot force others to admire you, endorse your lifestyle and drop even private doubts about you. You can only persuade them to see what good there is in you. And if you don’t know by now you that cannot compel others to love you, you never will. All you can do – and all you should want to do – is take the deal when a politician says: don’t ask if I respect you, ask if I respect your rights.”

  • Jim Alexander 15th Jun '17 - 11:57am

    @libdem David – Charlie Kennedy was a drunk – thats not a slur thats a simple statement of fact – his fondness of alcohol was impacting on his ability to lead the party and was coming under severe scrutiny from the Press – you cant have a Drunk as your Party Leader

    According to Press Reports Tim Farron was asked to step down due to an underwhelming performance during the GE and he severe lack of Heavyweight Policy – now no doubt the Christian thing was an issue but if he had performed he would still be party leader

  • Jim Alexander 15th Jun '17 - 12:03pm

    @Keith Legg
    Whatever the reason Charles was removed, I’d still rather have a drunk Charles Kennedy in charge than many of those who appear to have knifed Tim.

    Really ? thats a bit scary that you would want a drunk in charge of anything

  • George Crozier 15th Jun '17 - 12:04pm

    Can I recommend the piece written today by Rafael Behr in The Guardian which is not unsympathetic to Tim (and Rafael is not unsympathetic to the party). As he notes:
    “By his own omission the awkwardness arose not necessarily from his beliefs but the clumsy way in which he handled them, and the perception of moral squeamishness.”

    Christianity – or any other religion – is not incompatible with leading a political party, whether the Lib Dems or any other party, but it does require very careful handling and communication if you are not going to leave the impression (absolutely wrongly in Tim’s case) of intolerance or illiberalism – or, worse, not sticking to one’s principles. Theresa May, Tony Blair and Charles Kennedy to name but three did manage this potential conflict well. Tim, for all his other strengths (and there are many, including being a brilliantly motivational platform speaker), did not, I’m afraid.

    Ultimately this is about the voters. If Tim had achieved positive cut through with a significant portion of the electorate I would have supported him staying on and trying to counter the largely (though not wholly) unfair negatives. But he didn’t.

    As Matt Chorley notes in The Times:

    “In December YouGov’s polling showed more than half of people did not have a view on Farron, falling to only a third by the election. All of them decided he was doing badly – up from 24 per cent to 46 per cent.”
    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/voters-did-not-have-faith-in-farron-9sr2h9f7z (paywall)

    There’s also some focus group findings in that article which I won’t repeat but, let us say, they are not complimentary to Tim.

    That may not be fair but politics isn’t always fair. I would have loved it if Tim had improved his public standing during the campaign. But he didn’t. The polls bear that out. Numerous conversations I had during the campaign bore that out too. The ‘gay sex’ stuff was part of it but only part.

    Personal loyalty is admirable. But the party, and the change we are fighting for, is bigger than any individual. The leader should be the person best equipped to lead that fight as the party’s main spokesperson and lead public face . I’ve been proud to have Tim as our leader, but, looking forward, I have reluctantly concluded that there are others in a better position to win the votes we need to make the change we seek.

  • To be fair to Tim Farron, two years is nowhere near long enough to judge whether somebody has been a decent leader or not. Individual performance in a GE is not the be-all and end-all of leading a political party. Has Tim Farron had enough time to put his vision of what the LDs should be into practice? I don’t think so, I (as an outside observer) don’t really know what his particular vision even was going to be yet beyond the superficial things that can be got across in two years.

  • @Angry Steve: ‘OK – so you’ll condemn the questioning of what Farron thinks is a ‘sin’ then?’

    This wasn’t directed at me, but I think you’re in danger of losing sight of the fact that he was being asked about opinions which he had voluntarily offered in interviews, in print. That is absolutely fair game to ask questions about, as he raised those issues in the public sphere in the first place.

    Not that I think it should have been enough for him to resign, I’m sure it was about politics rather than faith.

  • Jim Alexander 15th Jun '17 - 12:11pm

    @Paul Walker
    Charles Kennedy was an alcoholic. That is the human and sensitive way to describe his illness, and those of others with a similar condition.

    Actually he wasn’t and its never been suggested he was as he could go for sustained periods without alcohol – he simply liked a bevy as we would say in Glasgow – it helps all debate if you talk about things in factual terms – Charles Kennedys removal is being linked to the resignation of Tim Farron as though there is a conspiracy of Orange Bookers – one couldn’t lay off the drink – and the performance of the Party in the GE 2017 had to be addressed

  • Phil Boothroyd 15th Jun '17 - 12:17pm

    I cannot begin to state how disappointed that I am that Tim is stepping down. While it’s all good and well to talk about what was wrong with his leadership (and there’s plenty that could have been done better), the reality is you have to choose from those that are available and I don’t think there is (or was in the last parliament) anyone that is going to do a better job. There’s a lot to be said for letting people learn from their mistakes and grow into the role, something I’m sure Tim would have done. Instead we will be back to square one, with a new candidate either having to start building trust with the electorate from scratch or someone who’s been around a bit longer coming in tainted in the public view from the coalition years. I really don’t see that helping us as a party at all. I will stick with the Lib Dems for now, but await the impending leadership contest with limited confidence.

  • Richard Underhill 15th Jun '17 - 12:27pm

    A BBC journalist in a beautiful golden dress interviewed Alistair Carmichael this morning. He had to correct her twice as to how many MPs we have. http://libdems.org.uk/mps
    On the leadership issue he said that he would consult MPs over the next several days.

  • Jim Alexander – Sadly your last comment shows how little you know about Charles Kennedy or for that matter Winston Churchill.

  • The last thing we need is more recriminations & the best way to stop them is openess all round. The members of The “Delegation” should name themselves & issue a short Statement on why they did what they did Now. We need to know if it is true that other Shadow Ministers were preparing to resign & if so, who they are.
    No-one involved in The Plot should stand for The Posts of Leader or Deputy Leader.
    An Apology to The Members would be a step towards healing.

  • There will be new members reading this and wondering if they have to be perfect to remain Lib Dem. We all have weaknesses, even Lib Dems. Our members are of all faiths and none, all sexualities and uncertainties, judge our policies against being liberal and accepting of differences, but most of all we are democratic and should not bow to the dictat of grandees or those who pose as know-alls. Tim is still a great Lib Dem to me, in any role he accepts in future, even if he is sometimes less than perfect.

  • Open, tolerant and united my a**e. Leader forced out by a ‘delegation’ because of his religious views without consultation with the membership.

  • Russell Kent 15th Jun '17 - 12:48pm

    More comment in the Guardian about Tim’s resignation.


    A point on tuition fees. Free education can only be supplied by tax payers funding it. The electorate keep voting for a party that aims at reducing taxes, not increasing them. Personally, I feel that education and healthcare are worth paying taxes for, but I am not the electorate. Moreover, I don’t live in the UK, have been outside for more than 15 years, so do not have the right to vote. I digress. A party which advocates increased taxation to pay for necessary services requires someone who can passionately propose such an increase in a way that engages with the eletorate. Tim was not that messenger. It remains to be seen if there is such a beast in the LibDems.

  • Dave Orbison 15th Jun '17 - 1:04pm

    i think there are three broad issues here and clearly differing views and strong feelings on all three.

    1. The LibDem GE performance. I think the campaign was poor. Too much reliance on the Brexit issue, a lack of clear policy issues with a compelling message and poor performance by Tim Farron on tv. This resulted in a further drop in share of the vote. Not all Tim’s fault of course but whoever were responsible for the LibDem campaign.

    2. The coup. I’m not a LibDem supporter anymore but fully understand the outrage of members who object to what has been done by a handful of ‘grandees’. Notwithstanding my views on Tim Farron, I think he should have told them where to go and put the issue before the full membership exactly as Corbyn did when Tom Watson led a failed coup by the PLP. Look how that turned out.

    3. Tum Farron’s view of Christianity. It is wrong to misconstrue people’s concerns re Tim Farron’s view of gays and his interpretation of Christianity as religious intolerance. There are many MPs who have voted on issues in the HofC and no one would know what their beliefs are because they have kept their views to themselves. If they choose to make their views public and if it ever it affected their voting record on for example LGBTQ issues, as it DID with Tim Farron, then it must be reasonable for voters to consider this.

    In fact in Tim Farron’s resignation he implies he was torn between his faith and this issue. That says it all surely as it implicitly acknowledges he was unable to divorce the two.

  • @Jim Alexander – no, Charles didn’t just “like a bevvy”. He was an alcoholic. A high-functioning one, yes, but an alcoholic. Dismissing someone as just “liking a bevvy” is a typical Scottish way of hiding alcoholism – as a Scot I have heard that too often.

    And yes, as a politician, Charles’ decision making even during his alcoholic phases was still significantly greater than many around him.

  • I voted for Tim Farron as Leader and I never felt my support was misplaced. He deserved to carry on and build on the advances of the past two years and the general election.

    The questions put to Tim about his faith were very unfair, and I only once heard the same treatment given to Theresa May. The particular question put to him repeatedly was absurd, and encouraged a homophobic narrative that the only issue of relevance to gay equality was to do with sex. Equality in all areas of life, including the ability to live a life openly and without fear of discrimination are what matter most – with an acceptance by politicians that the law has no place in regulating what consenting adults do in private. No one needs to be interrogated beyond that. He has been a committed Liberal in all these respects, and I am very sorry that he feels compelled to take this decision. He was indeed on the receiving end of very illiberal and intolerant treatment.

  • George Crozier and Arthur Snell are talking the most sense on this. We under-performed at the election. Tim did his best but it wasn’t good enough and the way he answered questions about his faith was needlessly clumsy. Focusing on this alleged ‘delegation’ is pointless – if some senior folk helped Tim realise it was in tbe party’s interests for him to step down, that’s a good thing. Now let’s have a thorough election campaign and elect the best person to be our leader and main national voice. I personally hope Jo will run and prove herself that best candidate.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 15th Jun '17 - 1:34pm

    Some are usually keen on any chance to revive the nonsense of the supposed easy to do and see division of Orangebookers and social Liberals.Stop it please !

    The book has a forward by Charles Kennedy. Its sequel has a very good article on quality of life issue related topic from Jo Swinson.

    I do not want to be in a Maoist party with a cultural revolution. Even Labour are waking to the need for a broad church.

    The men in ermine need to be open. The disgrace is the way on the day this happened.

    Those who see that as a reason to condemn ideas in a book written a decade or so ago, could do better to read Machievellis The Prince, a far more likely subliminal influence on plotters !

    What Tim needs and must have is a chance like Nick to contribute. We overemphasise elected representatives, it seems the peers and party hacks have the power, so why not power to the people, change the rules on who can be leader, I would like a chance for us to vote for Majid Nawaz !

  • Bill le Breton 15th Jun '17 - 2:02pm

    @George C
    I did not vote for Tim – that needs stating to give context. For the Party, the 2017 election was an after shock to the 2015 debacle.

    You refer to a piece by Rafael Behr in The Guardian where he notes:
    “By his own omission the awkwardness arose not necessarily from his beliefs but the clumsy way in which he handled them, and the perception of moral squeamishness.”

    May I refer you to a piece by Isabel Hardman – first published in May, apparently, but re-issues by the Newstatesman where sehe has a very interesting explanation as to why Tim’s in her words needed to obfuscate.

    “It’s not that Tim Farron is illiberal: his voting record suggests otherwise. It’s that he appeared to fear that the reaction to his own religious beliefs would be so illiberal as to damage his party, and therefore he needed to obfuscate on those beliefs when asked.”

    Tim was right, as events yesterday proved. Hardman is right. Behr and many others, unconsciously no doubt, are behaving like Matthew Hopkins in the English Civil War.

    Where is our Milton?

  • Peter Watson 15th Jun '17 - 2:13pm

    A lovely quote from The Guardian:

    It is hard to see the teachings and message of Jesus in any way that is contrary to the aims of progressive politics. There is his favouring of the peacemakers over the warmongers, the poor over the rich, the powerless over the powerful; his injunctions to feed the hungry, give shelter to the homeless, set free the oppressed; his emphasis on mercy and forgiveness; his care for the sick and those cast out by the rest of society.


  • Nonconformistradical 15th Jun '17 - 2:14pm

    @Jim Alexander

    A quick look around the web will show you any number of links to the result of the post mortem on the late Charles Kennedy – stating that the cause of death was a massive haemorrhage linked to alcoholism, excessive drinking – whatever you want to call it.

  • Mark Humble – Orange Book did not cover Clegg’s message of anti tuition fee and anti austerity during 2010 election.

  • Paul Murray 15th Jun '17 - 2:50pm

    I voted for Tim in 2015 primarily because in December 2010 he voted against tuition fees at a time when he was president-elect of the party. It was my opinion (and still is) that the decision to break the pledge was the single most catastrophic error the party had made in decades and he called it right. I am an atheist and was unaware of his faith. Had I know he was a practising Christian the entire impact that knowing this would have had on my support for him is exactly zero.

    Tim is very clear in his resignation speech that he is resigning because “I seem to be the subject of suspicion because of what I believe and who my faith is in.” But surely nobody doubts that he has an exemplary voting record on LGBT and women’s rights?

    It seems to me that this suggests that Tim thinks some people have decided that he is guilty of thought crimes. That while he “talks the talk” and – as his voting record shows – he also “walks the walk” that somewhere, deep down he doesn’t really believe in it. That when he talks of “tolerance” he is perceived as meaning “forbearance”. Is that a reasonable interpretation of this sentence in his speech?

    I would have hoped that we would choose to go on rather more substantive evidence than some dubious intuition, a bit of dodgy polling and a few anecdotal Ashcroft focus group comments before dismissing the leader of the party and plunging it into fresh turmoil. But at this stage nothing about the Liberal Democrats surprises me. The party is a text book case of a failing, dysfunctional organization.

  • Eddie Sammon 15th Jun '17 - 2:56pm

    It’s not acceptable for Jim Alexander to be calling Charles Kennedy a drunk. It’s an offensive term. I’ve seen people up-close with alcohol problems and just because someone can go a few days or a week without alcohol doesn’t mean they don’t have a medical problem with it.

    No more words on this please. Remove any more posts mentioning it.

  • George Crozier 15th Jun '17 - 3:08pm

    @ Bill Le Breton

    And I did vote for Tim so I’m not sure what that says about us! I agree 2017 was largely an aftershock to 2015 and, as a corollary to that, any leader would have struggled to make significant progress.

    For me what it boils down to is that regardless of the reasons for Tim’s obfuscations they damaged him in the eyes of many of the electorate and contributed to his negative and deteriorating leader ratings. These ratings were harsh in my view. I’ve lost track of the number of people I sang Tim’s praises to during the campaign. I thought the more people saw of him the more they would like. Sadly (and even allowing for our diminished coverage this time which would have happened under any leader) that wasn’t borne out. Now we could have persevered and tried to turn things round, or we can say: ‘Tim’s great. He’s a top bloke and a brilliant advocate for liberalism, despite his questionable judgement on football teams and dodgy indie bands… but the electorate, for whatever reason, aren’t loving him as a potential Prime Minister so maybe it’s time to try someone else.’

  • Matthew Huntbach 15th Jun '17 - 3:13pm

    Lorenzo Cherin

    Again you demonstrate your economic far-right illiberal attitude. You can’t accept even the mildest expression of concern about aspects of the “Orange Book”, and describe anyone who expresses such concern as a “Maoist”.

    One reason I joined and stayed in the Liberal Party and its successor is that I am very much opposed to the Maoist/Leninist model of politics in which it is suggested there should be one monopoly party of the left, and that party should be run in a top-down manner with every member being forced to give uncritical support to whatever is the current party line.

    I fully accept, contrary to your suggestion, that there is a liberal case for free market economics, and of course it is right for members of the party to be able to write essays discussing that. The universal position in our party, or at least it used to be, is that a balance needs to be achieved: free market economics in many cases is the best way to run things, but there are places where there needs to be state intervention, and also the issue that unrestricted free market economics can lead to a growth in inequality unless tempered by some redistribution in order to avoid enslavement by poverty.

    The issues with the Orange Book are:

    1) It came out at a time when the failings of free market orthodoxy were becoming more obvious, so was it really the best time to come out with something like that?

    2) It seemed to be part of an undemocratic attempt to push our party to the right. There seemed to be a LOT of money going into think tanks and the like pushing this issue, and that gave an unfair advantage to that side against those who did nit want the party to move that way.

    3) When the Coalition was formed, it was inevitable that we would be attacked by Labour using the line that it revealed that secretly we were much more economically right-wing than we gave the impression of. It was very important to point out, therefore, that this was not the case, but the emphasis put on the Orange Book suggested the opposite.

    4) Nick Clegg showed an obvious bias towards Orange Book fans, made sure the top level of the party was stuffed with them, and he and those around him gave speeches and published articles that essentially said anyone who disliked that should get out and join the Labour Party. Extremely insulting that was to those of us who had worked hard to out Clegg where he was, but disagreed with his undemocratic shift of the party to the right.

  • Matthew Huntbach 15th Jun '17 - 3:16pm


    Extremely insulting that was to those of us who had worked hard to out Clegg where he was

    I wish LibDem Voice had a way to correct typos – that should have been “put Clegg where he was” i.e. built up the party that he took over. We might have afterwards worked to out Clegg … , but by then it was too late.

  • Ryan McAlister 15th Jun '17 - 3:39pm

    It amazes me that certain people in this party continue to drag up an anthology written 13 years ago as part of a pointless, harmful and futile internecine battle.

    13 years! Get over it.

  • “an acceptance by politicians that the law has no place in regulating what consenting adults do in private”

    Which of course goes wide that homosexuality to other non-conventional forms of sexual expression. I asked Tim his views on the regulation of pornography relating the digital economy bill quoting a rather elegant response from Charles Kennedy relating to legislation in 2005. The only response I got was to look on the party website for the latest news from the party.

    It’s why beliefs matter. Its what gives you an idea how a politician will respond to a novel situation

  • David Williamson 15th Jun '17 - 3:53pm

    I understand, although not before today, that Tim Farron is, or was, a trustee of a “charity” dedicated to the conversion of gay folk to what Tim’s religious viewpoint consider to be “normal” heterosexual behaviour.

    I am afraid that this, and not that he believes in mythical woo, that disqualifies him from leading our Party. I am glad that he recognises the conflict.

  • Matt (Bristol) 15th Jun '17 - 4:00pm

    Well, George, David Laws is pouring paraffin on the flames and in the ‘i’ seems to be saying that Tim was wrong to stand for the leadership and you were wrong to vote for him.


    Aaargh. I feel the party is about to tear itself apart.

  • Just read a sickening article by David Laws. Laws is one of those responsible for the destruction of the party by cosying up too closely to the Tories & breaking his pledge over tuition fees. He then lost his safe seat of Yeovil which Paddy had given to him.
    Tim, who kept his pledge, was rebuilding the party from the floor.
    Tim has principle. Unlike David Laws.
    He was also right to call for a second referendum. It gave us a purpose & he will be vindicated. Each day the consequences of Brexit become clearer. Remainers voted for the person most likely to beat the Tories in remain areas & in most cases that was Labour.
    Even though we were squeezed we still gained 8 seats & missed 4 others by a whisker.
    I cannot understand the motivation of those who criticise Tim for succeeding, while praising those who led us into oblivion.
    The intolerance of those who will allow no views but their own brings shame on our party. If the Liberal party does not defend freedom of thought what is its point?

  • Tony Dawson 15th Jun '17 - 4:15pm

    @Jim Alexander

    “Charlie Kennedy had to go because he was a drunk – you cant have someone who is willing to sacrifice everything for Alcohol in a position of Authority ”

    Get real, Jim, I think it is you who do not know your history. The Men in Grey Suits tolerated and exploited Charles Kennedy’s alcohol problem till the day it didn’t suit them any more. They are the same manipulators who backed Ming Campbell as a ‘caretaker’ and who subsequently ‘led'(sic) our Party to an electoral disaster of which the 2017 result is just the second ‘wave’ of the Tsunami. Anyone who thinks that any leader of our wrecked Party could have achieved any more than maybe 5 to 6 seats extra in the present situation knows little or nothing about (a) leadership and (b) politics

  • Tony Dawson 15th Jun '17 - 4:21pm


    “… beliefs matter. …what gives you an idea how a politician will respond to a novel situation.”

    Which is why our Party in particular should be particularly wary about putting up people for office who behave competently in most situations but actually believe in very little at all. All political parties have such people. Their competence in their self-promotion can sometimes spill over into a collective electoral benefit short-term. But the long-term cumulative expression of their involvement at any high level can be potentially catastrophic, particularly in a small party or a critical team within the Party.

  • Tony Dawson 15th Jun '17 - 4:25pm

    @Bill le Breton :

    “Where is our Milton?”

    Other proprietary brands of nappy disinfectant are also available. 🙁

  • This is a disaster for our party. What happened yesterday afternoon was totally illiberal. Tim has said he will continue until the parliamentary recess. Thank you Tim for giving us time to work on this disaster. Tim has the right to step down when he sees how some people do not keep to our democratic principles and procedures. Many of us believe that there cannot be consideration of a new leader until we are called together to hear what happened yesterday and then decide how to move forward as one party. I hope we all agree.

  • Angry Steve 15th Jun '17 - 4:33pm

    @David Williamson
    “I understand, although not before today, that Tim Farron is, or was, a trustee of a “charity” dedicated to the conversion of gay folk to what Tim’s religious viewpoint consider to be “normal” heterosexual behaviour.”

    Really? Got some evidence for your claim. If you can produce some then I will change my mind about Farron. If not, then I hope he takes legal action against you.

  • Peter Watson 15th Jun '17 - 4:35pm

    The comments by some (including David Laws) give the impression that Tim Farron should not even be in the party, let alone be its leader.
    It feels like some in the party are doing the Tories’ dirty work by trying to deliver the Westmorland and Lonsdale constituency to them as soon as possible.

  • Angry Steve 15th Jun '17 - 4:37pm

    It would seem that the orange-bookers aren’t prepared to argue for their cause but rather concoct a deliberate, prolonged and unpleasant smear campaign against an honest and capable man using the most illiberal attitudes possible.

  • @ alan ” Just read a sickening article by David Laws.” Yes, I’ve just read it too and found it sickening for all the reasons you give. Frankly, I’ve moved from alarm yesterday to real anger now.

    There seems to be prejudice in reverse going on in a cooperative between a man who failed to get a significant vote as Mayor of London, and a former Cabinet Minister forced to resign for reasons I won’t go into – and who lost a safe inherited seat. All reminiscent of the famous “What is there not to like quote” from those closely involved with Mr Clegg (and Mr Lamb) in 2015.

    What makes it even more sickening is that out in the real world there is a huge human tragedy going on in London which has nationwide implications for housing policy……….. AND NOT A PEEP OUT OF THE LIB DEMS. Instead they’re preoccupied with their own self indulgence and have disappeared down their rabbit hole.

    What a comparison with the Leader of the Opposition who visited the area and who was seen to show huge human compassion and empathy when he was talking with those involved.

    Shame on you, Paddick, Shame on you Laws. You’ve made the party unfit to be supported. At this rate it will never get out of the rabbit hole.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 15th Jun '17 - 4:40pm

    @Eddie Sammon is right. There were comments on here which showed a lack of understanding about the nature of alcoholism. I was going to remove them and then I saw that there had been very many excellent responses to them.

    However, enough is enough. No more discussion of Charles,please.

  • Caron – The comments showing a lack of understanding about the nature of alcoholism weren’t offensive, they were just wrong – and were quickly challenged and made to look foolish – so is there any need to remove them?

    Anyway – am appalled at David Laws’ article. Genuinely ashamed to be a Liberal Democrat at the moment.

  • Ah, you beat to it. Keep up the great work Caron.

  • Graham Evans 15th Jun '17 - 4:54pm

    @ alan: Just replace the word “homosexuality” with “racism” or “anti-Semitism” and then reread David Law’s article. No liberal would claim to tolerate racism or anti-Semitism, but it’s apparently alright as leader of a liberal party to have an irrational prejudice against homosexuality as long as you tolerate its practice.

  • LibDemDavid 15th Jun '17 - 4:55pm

    On this issue mentioned I agree with Eddie Sammon and found the previous comment referenced totally abhorrent, insensitive and inappropriate.

    I voiced my concerns to the ALDC about Tim’s unnecessary resignation, who was involved and what was said.

    I have been advised to contact Sal Brinton, the Lib Dem President to make a complaint and would urge others, particularly on the social liberal wing of the party, to do the same – [email protected]

  • Matt (Bristol) 15th Jun '17 - 5:06pm

    David Raw – on the Grenfell Tower issue, there has been a statement from Sal Brinton. But, of course, if we were not ridiculously distracted, we could have been much clearer, empathetic and more focused on what the public are focused on.

  • If David Laws feels that it is appropriate to write such an article at this time I’m wondering what resentment he has been storing, and for how long…..Osborne ‘knifed’ May; it seems such behavior is not confined to the ‘nasty party’..

  • I’m pleased Baroness Brinton issued a statement. Back in the time when my children were young, they always wrote thank you letters after their birthday.

    This is what we’re up against. I take my hat off to the man and feel ashamed of my party.

    Jeremy Corbyn visits Grenfell Tower – YouTube
    Video for jeremy corbyn grenfell tower▶ 5:12
    5 hours ago

  • In my family we have direct and recent experience of homophobic bullying and object to David Laws linking Tim Farron’s position with homophobic bullying. Totally unfair.

  • John Probert 15th Jun '17 - 5:53pm

    On the face of it, Paddick’s shabby remarks triggered Tim Farron’s unexpected leadership resignation. Now we understand that other dark forces forced Tim out.

    What cabal of Liberal grandees would behave in such an underhand way?

    As President, Sal Brinton must get to the bottom of this fiasco and reveal them immediately. The membership must know before it chooses a new leader.

  • Denis Mollison 15th Jun '17 - 6:04pm

    @Jim Alexander
    When you’re in a hole, it’s advisable to stop digging.

    Whether you call it being an alcoholic or being a drunk, it’s a disease, and needs to be treated as such.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 15th Jun '17 - 6:33pm

    Just to let you know, Jim Alexander’s response to me has been deleted and he has now been put on pre-moderation.

  • Katharine Pindar 15th Jun '17 - 6:52pm

    Yes George Miles we should refuse to accept Tim’s resignation. He was elected by the members, and the members should decide in due course through a sensibly-timed leadership election who is to be our leader. A small deputation of members apparently asked him to resign. He should have refused, and should now rethink. It is not for the good of the party that he should resign at all at this stage, before there is any proper evaluation of his performance as leader, and when in the situation of a hung parliament our party’s views on the EU negotiations, the economy and the failings of this government in serving our people should and probably will be heard.

  • Sue Sutherland 15th Jun '17 - 6:56pm

    I have a really bad feeling about this, nothing will change, the grandees will carry on flexing their muscles and the complacency of Coalition days is coming back to finally kill off our party

  • Bill le Breton 15th Jun '17 - 7:24pm

    George C – thanks for reply. I agree with much you say, but there is due process and that process involves all the members of the party.

    It is quite obvious that scores are being settled by grandees.

    For all the good words said by the great and the not so good no one is talking for the ordinary member who has been treated as badly as has Tim.

    Sal Brinton should be representing those members. She isn’t. No one in elected office is. We shall drown in crocodile tears before anyone in elected office behaves like a Liberal.

    I was told that Sal was a key figure in the election team – one of the top 3 – if so, why hasn’t she offered her resignation if this whole affair is not to do with religion but only to do with the undeniable paucity of the campaign? (Actually it is to deflect blame from 2010-2015 and the destruction of the Party.)

    Tony D – good joke for parents everywhere but actually,serious point, who is standing up for the rights of the membership?

  • @ Jim Alexander
    “@Paul Walker
    “Charles Kennedy was an alcoholic.
    “Actually he wasn’t and its never been suggested he was as he could go for sustained periods without alcohol”

    Alcoholism is being addicted to alcohol and the test is not “not drinking for a day or two” but whether the person is addicted. There can be long periods when an alcoholic has either given up or reduced their intake, but then they suffer a relapse. Also it becomes increasing more difficult for an alcoholic to become drunk because an increased tolerance to alcohol. Today other terms are preferred – “alcohol dependency” for example.

  • David Allen 15th Jun '17 - 8:00pm

    With reference to grandees, here’s Donnachadh McCarthy’s fascinating account of how grandees behaved back in 1996:

    ” ‘Before the Federal Executive discusses Donnachadh’s motion, I must inform you that if the Executive passes this motion, I will tender my resignation as leader’

    These were the first words I heard Paddy Ashdown utter, the then leader of the Liberal Democrats, at my first meeting of the Party’s Federal Executive after my election to it in September 1996. I has proposed that Lord Holme, Ashdown’s general-election campaign director, could not simultaneously be external-affairs director for Rio Tinto Zinc.

    Little did I realise that I had come face to face with the political lobbying cartel that I was to battle for the following seven years …. They were to teach me how the British political system invisibly works on behalf of rich vested interests rather than on behalf of the country at large.”


  • Lorenzo Cherin 15th Jun '17 - 8:16pm

    Mathew Huntbach

    If you persist in your insults of me I shall not respond to you further. I say I do not want to now or ever be in a Maoist party that has a cultural revolution, because some are talking in a mean and denigrating way of expulsions and such, and you respond by calling me far right and economic illiberal or whatever you feel like saying that is not so and which as a Liberal I shall tolerate and ignore, but to say for the goodness knows what time, I am on economics on the centre left , a social liberal and social democrat ex member of the Labour party !

  • Carolyn Mann 15th Jun '17 - 8:51pm

    Can I reinforce the plea that we get to the bottom of what happened. We are supposed to be Democrats and what happened to Tim does not look at all democratic. He was elected by the membership. It is not the place of “grandees” to push him out as and when they see fit for reasons that have not been explained. I have lodged an official complaint with the Party. We will see what happens.

  • Bill le Breton 15th Jun '17 - 9:13pm

    Well done Carolyn who writes that she has lodged an official complaint with the Party.

    May I suggest that everyone with strong feelings either way responds to the email sent out by the President.

    For Liberalism’s sake reply to her email.

  • @Carolyn. The very word “grandees” says it all. If the truth is as it has been described here, then this will almost certainly go badly. The hard won progress Tim has made for the Party, through energy and dedication, will be undone by people meddling from their armchairs.

  • LibDemDavid 15th Jun '17 - 9:18pm

    Yes I am doing the same, complaint to the Party and email to Sal Brinton.

  • At 5.30 p.m. I emailed President Sal Brinton and suggested she checks this thread to read our views on the coup. At the same time I received a circular from Sal titled “Choosing our next leader”.

  • The more I hear about Tim’s “resignation” the more disturbed I have become ….

    What sort of party is this ? Liberal ? (sic) ……

    Come back Tim ……

  • @ George Miles and Katharine Pindar

    If you want us to do a UKIP and not accept the resignation of Tim, you should email members of the Federal Board, which Sal Brinton has told us will meet next week. Hopefully you have the email addresses of those who included them in their election address.

    @ Bill le Breton
    “May I suggest that everyone with strong feelings either way responds to the email sent out by the President.”

    I suggest that people do not reply to Sal’s email because the account emails are most likely not read or passed on.

    I didn’t do an official complaint, but instead used the “contact us” template to call on Sal Brinton to investigate what happen and inform the membership via email and for the Federal Board to consider taking disciplinary action against those involved in calling on Tim to resign.

  • Matthew Huntbach 16th Jun '17 - 12:35am

    Lorenzo Cherin

    I am on economics on the centre left , a social liberal and social democrat ex member of the Labour party !

    Well show that then, by indicating that you have at least an understanding of why some people who are good liberals do not support gung-ho free market economics. I am not saying you should agree with those of us who are critical of the “Orange Book”, just show some understanding of our position rather than simply denigrating us.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 16th Jun '17 - 12:54am

    Mathew Huntbach
    If that is your idea of an apology , it is not most peoples. I do not denigrate anyone , you do regularly, me included, and directly. I respect all sides , but having to justify myself to people is sending me in the direction of leaving this party to start a realignment of politics ! I post regularly in favour of centre left economics and was n the Labour party when it started the minimum wage , which was not at that time in the Liberal Democrat manifesto. I support an increase now, as well as

    An end to off shore havens for tax in British territory

    An increase in tax for higher earners

    A stringent attitude to health and safety at work

    Increases in spending on green business

    Grants for self employed start ups

    Profit shares for employees

    Employee representation on boards

    Private sector union representation in trade deals.

    A basic income after a new fair strong immigration policy is decided, for all permanent residents by marriage after ten years ,and all citizens of age twenty one up

    An end to job centres and unemployment benefit as a result , thus no benefit sanctions

    New business start up and career advice instead …

    Cyrano said , when sarcastically told his nose was big,

    ” Big, my nose is enormous !…”

  • David Williamson –
    “I understand, although not before today, that Tim Farron is, or was, a trustee of a “charity” dedicated to the conversion of gay folk to what Tim’s religious viewpoint consider to be “normal” heterosexual behaviour.”
    As someone else has already asked, can you please provide evidence for this? If it is true, I would like to know about it. If not, you should unequivocally withdraw it.

  • Tim may have been treated harshly at times by the media but the facts remains that he failed to provide clear answers for some time on his personal views of gay sex,which proved to be a problem with the LGBT community and supporters. I accept his voting record is positive and he has higher reputation than some critics would suggest, however just think his resignation statement didn’t strike the right chord. Whilst he may have been under pressure with a modest recovery he surely wasn’t forced to go.

    Nonetheless despite his campaigning successes and leading the party at a difficult time, felt there was a bit of a missed opportunity and didn’t feel Tim was a strong enough leader. Of course challenges whoever takes over but feel it is perhaps time to move on (without snap election may have been different) and it’s probably not ideal to have leader in very marginal seat.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 16th Jun '17 - 7:25am

    Katharine, and George Miles, and others who are suggesting that we should try to persuade Tim Farron to reconsider his decision – I think we should accept that Tim Farron has made a decision, which must have been very difficult for him, and we should not add to the stress that he must be experiencing, by trying to make him change his mind. He made it clear in his statement that he has made this decision voluntarily. I am sure he gave the matter careful thought, and would not have made this decision unless he felt that it was in the best interests the party.
    None of us really know the truth about the “delegation” who are said to have visited Tim Farron and asked him to resign. But it is certain that they did not have the power to force him to take this step. People have been making this “delegation” sound like something very sinister, and some of the comments above have been angry and vengeful, demanding names, etc. But it may not have been like that at all. Perhaps a few senior member of the party visited Tim Farron and gently explained to him the reasons why they felt that it might be best for the party if he were to stand down. Perhaps they were genuinely concerned about the stress that they could see that Tim was experiencing, and felt that standing down would be in his best interests too. It may have been like this, or it may not. But we just do not know the facts, so we should not rush to judge.
    The fact is that Tim could have said no, but he chose to listen to them and to take their advice. They may have merely confirmed a decision he had already more or less made.
    We also do not know whether or not the delegation focused on issues about Tim’s faith as the reason why he should stand down. They may have spoken of many possible reasons for what was undeniably a disappointing election result, with a fall in the vote share from that in 2015, and the loss of seats that we should have been able to retain.
    Tim’s statement seems to make it clear that it was he himself who had come to feel that there was too much of a conflict between his role as leader of a liberal party, and his faith. Like others who have commented above, I am rather puzzled about exactly why he felt there was a conflict. But if this if how Tim felt, we need to accept that he made the decision that he felt to be right.

  • Matthew Huntbach 16th Jun '17 - 7:44am

    Lorenzo Cherin

    Ok, I accept what you say. It’s just that what I see from you has just been continuous defence of the “Orange Book” and the economic policy suggestions that it contained, and the general move of our party to the economic right. As I said, I don’t think the book itself was wrong, it was a mixture of essays not a coherent manifesto. However, it did have an emphasis on pushing the party towards a position more resembling the Conservatives in terms of economic policies.

    I was particularly offended by the remark you made about the Liberal Party in the 1960s and 1970s. That was the Liberal Party I joined. I helped build it up from then. Right now it seems to me that it has been almost completely destroyed. What destroyed it was the push to the economic right. So far as I am concerned my life’s work in politics has been wiped out. Places where I assisted the Liberal Democrats to grow to getting about 20,000 votes now have the party getting about 2,000 votes. Yes, I am angry about that.

    When I joined the party, we were seen as the party of the people against the establishment. Now we are seen as the exact opposite of that: the party of a business and intellectual elite that has a contempt for ordinary people.

  • Matthew Huntbach 16th Jun '17 - 7:55am

    Catherine Jane Crosland

    Tim’s statement seems to make it clear that it was he himself who had come to feel that there was too much of a conflict between his role as leader of a liberal party, and his faith

    Yes, and that was obvious when you looked at media coverage of him. It meant he was unable to do his job properly because the media kept going on about it and making insinuations about him, rather than giving a fair coverage to what he was actually saying and doing.

    Why did this happen when other politicians with religious affiliations have not been treated in that way? I think it does come down to the way that opponents of him within the party decided to use this as a way of damaging him.

  • Bill le Breton’s posts over the last few days have had me nodding so vigorously in agreement that my neck aches.

    This election was the first time I’ve voted for a non-Lib-Dem candidate. I can’t say that I was impressed with the way Tim dealt with the gay sex issue, but nothing in the campaign was as badly handled as this ditching of Tim.

    I voted Labour this time, in Yeovil. Not because I thought the candidate would win, but because I was impressed with Corbyn’s performance, because I saw nothing to indicate that the local Lib Dems thought they could win, because I was looking to oppose the Tories and I just didn’t feel that strength of opposition to them from the Lib Dems that has historically been the case here.

    I note the rumours that Paddy was part of the delegation, I note the article by David Laws. I would have been more impressed if they’d been as noteworthy in Yeovil over the last few weeks.

  • Katharine Pindar 16th Jun '17 - 8:56am

    When Parliament reconvened, Tim was speaking for the Party in the Commons. In the afternoon of the same day he was apparently visited by a delegation of senior party members who asked him to resign. There was not, Catherine, any time that I can see for him to give serious consideration to the question. It looks much more likely that he, tired after a bruising and exhausting election campaign, found this the last straw and decided to act on his self-doubts without further ado. Now that he sees the strength of feeling shown here about the process as well as the result, it is surely reasonable for Tim to reconsider, and for us to ask him to stand again if there is indeed to be an early contest. He said, ‘People who will fight for a Britain that is confident, generous and compassionate are needed more than ever before.’ Yes, and he is one of them, and needed more than ever.

  • Tristan Ward 16th Jun '17 - 9:47am

    We cannot allow all this to become a massive distraction. Our enemies will welcome it. We have an isolationist/nationalist Tory party, a resurgent Labour party moving toward the democratic socialist (ie anti-Liberal) end of its spectrum. Both those parties are committed to leaving the single market or worse. The next election may be six months away, or less. We need to get a new leader in place and campaigning as quickly as possible without distraction.

  • @Tristan Ward
    “Our enemies will welcome it.”

    Your enemies are rolling on the floor laughing at the fact that the orange-bookers have just shot the Lib Dems in the other foot as well. Farron was the best bet on steering away from the disastrous coalition. He was too nice a guy to rip into Clegg as he should have done – it would have seen dividends. The whole Christian smear campaign against Farron began with Norman Lamb’s campaign two years ago. The press picked up on it and focused on those internal divisions within the Lib Dems – hence the reason why no other party leader is asked such ridiculous questions. There isn’t a homophbic bone in Farron’s body, yet, because of the internal smear campaign against him, there are now a considerable number of the public that believe he is some kind of bigot.

    This is make or break for the Lib Dems – unless Farron is re-installed and those behind the smear campaign sanctioned then your party will suffer a similar fate to UKIP. I’d imagine that around half of your electorate are repulsed by what has happened to Farron given the proportion of Lib Dem voters who have any of the following: a personal faith, a democratic belief, a liberal belief. You’ll be on 3% before long.

  • Angry Steve, this is what I fear will happen. Other parties MPs voting records on equal rights/LGBT rights have not been put under any where near the scrutiny Tim’s have. There seems to have been a total misrepresentation of what he actually said and didn’t say. There was even one caller to a radio station saying he is against gay marriage which is untrue. No one from the party establishment or radio station challenged it so people listening to that programme would believe those are Tim’s views which they are not. I think you’re totally right about Nick Clegg, he decimated the Party but on his resignation was praised for his efforts the massive defeat. Tim Farron manages to increase the number of MPs in two years, yes some MPs lost their seats but the facts are that always happens even when the Party was at its peak, but the overall number is onwards and upwards but there has been amazing silence from the Party’s higher level on his efforts. The party I originally joined was in favour of the mixed economy, the Orange Bookers on the other hand infiltrated and are to the right of the Conservatives, their mantra is more privatisation of the public sector. Not the party I joined and not the direction I want the party to go in but those of us on the social liberal wing must continue to fight against it.

  • Angry Steve 16th Jun '17 - 1:05pm

    @Yeovil Yokel

    There were plenty of comments on here regarding Lamb’s campaign in 2015. Here is a quote from John Tilley that I’ve just found with a quick google (https://www.libdemvoice.org/channel-4-cathy-newman-tim-farron-sex-and-sin-46815.html). It seems quite prescient:

    “Some in the media have been diverted over the last few weeks by the negative campaigning tactics of the losing candidate during the leadership election. Rebuilding the party will be hindered by those negative tactics but not permanently unless there are some sore losers who persist in self-indulgent nonsense.”

  • Lorenzo Cherin 16th Jun '17 - 1:26pm


    Thank you, for that, I can assure you my comments are misinterpreted because it is the anger of those who are angry that I am bothered by , not the stance, and the arrogance of some , though not you, that presumes that what was , ever was only , and only shall ever be! This applies to left and right.As I have called you many complimentary things directly , allow for some criticism, if you would too, and perhaps return the support sometimes when we agree on much, for a start on faith , see the parallel thread.As for your comments on the Orange book, you are very fair. I am genuinely in the centre of this party , it is monopoly and hegemony I dislike, funnily enough I am more social Liberal on the economy and economic Liberal on the state ! That is because of the doiminance found within them, of businesses who are too powerful, and governments too complacent. I am basically in favour of doing whatever works for the little man and woman the most, a crude metaphor , that works.Perhaps you can relate to me better as we understand each other more so now.


    You are the very essence of what makes this party work at its best !

    We need to visit Brian Padicks Twitter, it seems he did not “visit ” our leader, but resigned on Tuesday, before the fire, it was anounced the next day, he says the conversation was friendly!

  • “To the best of my recollection the previous leadership election campaign was a well-mannered affair”

    Between the two candidates yes it was. Farron and Lamb were both great. However some of those who attached themselves to Lamb’s campaign were most definitely not well mannered – with a smear campaign and push polling, some were quite unpleasant – with a few having since actually joined the Tories.

    “and I doubt that a connection can be made between any comments made at the time by Norman about Tim and the media’s fixation with Tim’s religious beliefs during the General Election campaign.”

    Its definitely what drew attention to it. That’s not the say that Tim’s initial handling of it was at all good, but I think its quite possible the issue might not have come up in the same way during the election if it hadn’t been made such a big deal during the leadership contest.

  • Catherine Jane Crossland – it’s true, we don’t know the facts of what happened yet – but Brian Paddick’s resignation tweet and David Laws’ article in the i certainly doesn’t suggest anything resembling concern or gentleness to me – so its hard not to jump to conclusions…

  • Yeovil Yokel 16th Jun '17 - 2:54pm

    Bolano2 – we may never know whether or not Paddy was involved in Tim’s downfall, but, in his role as Chair of the local party I can assure you that he was present in the General Election campaign here in Yeovil. Also, David Laws has been an occasional visitor back to his old constituency even though his only reason for doing so has been ties of friendship with his many former colleagues and supporters; however, some people may be revising their opinion of him after the unnecessary way he stuck the knife into Tim during that interview.

    The big problem we have here in Yeovil is Brexit. We were badly weakened in the 2015 G. Election and the electorate were receptive to the Leave message. Twelve months later you can go into Yeovil, Chard or Crewkerne and hear people (invariably older men) still banging on about it (“we just need to get on with it”) as if it will be easy and cost-free. Recent local canvassing has shown that many people regard the LD’s negatively because of our pro-EU stance. David Laws was replaced by what must surely be one of the laziest MP’s in the UK, but he supports Brexit and the good people of Yeovil saw fit to give him an increased majority on 08 June, so it looks as if it’s going to take time and patience to win this seat back.

  • Matthew Huntbach

    “Why did this happen when other politicians with religious affiliations have not been treated in that way? I think it does come down to the way that opponents of him within the party decided to use this as a way of damaging him.”

    I don’t think you have it right there, as an Evangelical Christian there will be some in the media who would suspect that they would be able to get some blood on gay sex. I don’t think it mattered if it came up internally or not. The reason the attack doesn’t work on other politicians is that some will simply give the most expedient answer of “no” as they don’t care about the topic. Or those in established churches will simply say “ask the [insert relevant authority here]” and that doesn’t give you much to work with. Tim did himself no favours by trying to honestly engage on a topic which requires a nuanced discussion (which the media will never allow him to have).

  • alan

    “safe seat of Yeovil”

    The LibDems don’t have “safe seats” the fact that people don’t recognise this is very risky for the party. Decisions made on the basis of this assumption will be very risky.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland

    “I think we should accept that Tim Farron has made a decision, which must have been very difficult for him, and we should not add to the stress that he must be experiencing”

    I would also add a decent amount has been said against him personally in the media, much from the side he feels more affinity for the left (with a small number of odd defenders from the right). That is going to be fairly bruising, he may well be entering that phase in a job after you have resigned and working your notice. You are already half out the door, persuading someone to stay at that point is very difficult.

  • After hounding its leader out of the party for being a Christian, is this the new Nasty Party?

    It is the clique that brought about Tim’s resignation who should be asked to leave, regardless of their seniority. The integrity of the party is at stake. How can it claim to be liberal after this?

  • @Yeovil Yokel.

    I agree with your estimation of the work rate of Laws’s replacement – he made no effort during the election campaign. Neither did the Labour candidate, dropped in from Exeter – who despite doing virtually nothing still saw a 5.6 rise.

    But equally so, I heard little of the Lib Dem candidate, precious little of Paddy and zilch of Laws during the campaign, which makes the further decline in the Lib Dem vote from the last election unsurprising.

    My point remains – Laws was energised enough to attack Tim in the papers. Was he energised enough to take part in any campaign events in the constituency he lost for the party? Specifics from you would be convincing.

  • Mark Seaman 16th Jun '17 - 6:19pm

    Any politician should expect that the higher level of office they seek to attain, the more all aspects of their views/beliefs/life style will be examined. Religion is just one of those, and should be held to no less scrutiny than any others. Saying that it is a private view, when the person saying that could ultimately be the Prime Minister is just nonsense. There are really no private views that could be held at that level, that, would if implemented, not affect other people to their benefit or detriment.

  • LibDemDavid 16th Jun '17 - 7:15pm

    Laws was not an effective constituency MP and won the Yeovil seat on Paddy Ashdown’s legacy and held it while that legacy was still alive but along with Browne suffered the fate of Orange Bookers who chose the Party both of these people should really be joining. Laws did very little for elderly people and social care as my mother who lived in Crewkerne at the time he was an MP experienced. Tim on the other hand works really hard in Westmoreland, increased the number of Lib Dem MPs, increased the number of councillors at by elections before the May council elections and achieved a significant increase in party membership. Many of them will now reflect on the behaviour of an unrepresentative and undemocratic group who forced Tim to resign and should be held accountable for their actions.

  • Richard Underhill 16th Jun '17 - 7:30pm

    In all humility Tim Farron said ” I am not the Archbishop of Canterbury”.
    Faith is an individual thing, but there is advice and comment from the Archbishop of York in the Daily Telegraph today.

  • Yeovil Yokel 16th Jun '17 - 7:38pm

    Bolano2 – just to clarify: I didn’t claim that David Laws helped campaigning in his old constituency; like his replacement, he lives and works a long way away…..

    The LD candidate was hamstrung by being a late replacement, and had to cover a lot of ground in a limited time. But perhaps the campaign lost hope because of the negative canvassing responses during the run up to the County Council election.

    I was out of the country for most of the campaign so I didn’t see Paddy either, my information came second hand on my return at the end of May so your assessment might be more accurate.

  • Galen Milne 16th Jun '17 - 8:51pm

    There is a serious problem within our Party. Many can’t deal with politics. It’s a tough game. Knock backs come and go. Bruising encounters are the norm and thick skin is essential, particularly if you are a LibDem. We need our membership to grow up and many of our MPs to get real when expectation is overcome by reality, at every election.

  • I just don’t see why Tim could not have simply answered the question ” is gay sex a sin” with a ” No” when he was first asked that direct question. Going on about ” aren’t we all sinners?” or some such statement sounded very like Prince Charles’ answer to ” are you in love ? ” to which Diana promptly answered ” yes of course” in contrast to Charles who said ” whatever love means” – highly unconvincing to those of us watching. As the mother of a gay daughter, I don’t consider her to be a ” sinner” , whatever THAT means. It’s that sort of thinking which makes her life pretty difficult at times.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 17th Jun '17 - 10:19am

    Phyllis, like you, I was disappointed that Tim Farron did not give a clear answer to the question. I suppose it’s possible that he believes *all* sex outside marriage to be a sin -whether straight or gay, and believes all sex within marriage to be not a sin – whether gay or straight. This would be compatible with his support for gay marriage. Indeed it might make him even more pro gay marriage, if he believes that marriage is the only context within which sex can occur without being sinful.
    The idea that sex outside marriage is wrong is very much out of fashion, but until the mid twentieth century it was the accepted view, even among people who were not religious. (Although of course the reality was that sex outside marriage was very common, indeed the norm, throughout history, despite being officially regarded as a sin). If it is actually *any* sex outside marriage that Tim Farron believes to be sinful, then that makes him “old fashioned”, but combined with support for gay marriage, it does not make him in any way prejudiced against gay people.
    That anyway is one possible theory about Tim Farron’s views. But it’s only a theory, and like everyone else I’m just guessing

  • LibDemDavid 17th Jun '17 - 8:43pm

    He made it quite clear that gay sex is not a sin, saying we’re all sinners does not target the LGBT community or in anyway imply homophobia, quite how people read that into it is a total misnomer. I find astonishing how people’s views are misrepresented and distorted by the media but instead of members challenging them, some believe them. As for the radio who caller who said he is against gay marriage shame on those of you who refuse to defend his excellent voting record on gay rights.

  • Richard Robinson 17th Jun '17 - 10:34pm

    I am not an evangelical Christian, and indeed find the idea of altering people’s private beliefs through active conversion distasteful. I abhor the mistreatment of anyone for reasons of colour, creed or sexual orientation. I am a liberal. And yet I see nothing that Tim has said or done as being incompatible with my principals. He is clearly not homophobic.
    When I voted for him to become party leader it was not despite his Christian beliefs. It was because his belief in keeping his word with regard to tuition fees made him a more moral person and also a more astute politician than almost the entire party. I am incredibly saddened to see him being hounded out of the leadership of a party that he saved from extinction by a small group of Theophobes. He delivered 100.000 members despite a media blackout in favour of constant publicity for UKIP.
    Imagine if a British Muslim or a gay man was hounded in this way? The questions that Tim was asked about whether gay sex was a sin in the election were simply entrapment. I agree with Phyllis: he could have dealt with them more elegantly, perhaps by stating that sex out of marriage was technically a sin, but that voting for gay marriage thus reduced sin!! LGBT party members such as David Laws (who prior to the expenses scandal was rightly allowed to consider his sexuality a private matter) and Brian Paddock should have rallied to his defence, not sought to capitalise on his difficulties. LGBT voices would have knocked this on the head where Tim couldn’t. It is rare to find a politician that struggles to lie for personal gain, let alone encounter two at once: it is his authenticity that so attracts the young to Jeremy Corbin.
    I vote in Ceredigion, where Mark Williams has just lost his seat. The student vote went by my reading, to Labour. Tuition fees is still the party’s Achilles heal, and why Nick Clegg is no longer in parliament. Our next party leader will have voted for it and will not be trusted by the electorate, or me for that matter.
    I and others who feel that equality of opportunity for all , including religious minorities and the LGBT community, are a core principal of Liberalism, are seriously reconsidering whether we can remain in the Liberal Democrats. I predict that peak membership of the party will be Tim Farron’s legacy.

  • Phyllis

    “whatever THAT means.”

    Well that is the point. A journalist (particularly on TV where we regulate it intending to ensure quality) asking questions should be asking questions based upon a common level of understanding and if that understanding doesn’t generally exist they should be attempting to provide sufficient introduction to allow the interview to be informative. The question that was asked was:

    “Personally do you think homosexual sex is a sin”

    Which sounds like a simple question but would presumably require a nuanced answer where the answer could easily be “Don’t know” but that the interview setting that Channel 4 had sprung that question was not going to allow that response.

    It is telling that Newman had as her follow up question Leviticus 18:22. So if Tim had just said “No” then the follow up was to demand explanations to specific old testament quotes. If you were to ask an academic theologian who specialises in the area they could probably explain a number of interpretations and may or may not have one they consider more persuasive. Expecting an individual follower of a faith to explain particular verses just because they are a politician is ludicrous. Espesially as it is an area which probably has little relevance to them.

  • @ Psi
    “It is telling that Newman had as her follow up question Leviticus 18:22.”

    This should not have been a problem for even an evangelical Christian because they should be able to answer that the Jewish law as set out in Deuteronomy and Leviticus does not apply to Christians. The clip from West Wing comes to mind – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eD52OlkKfNs

    However there are more problematic ones for an evangelical Christian in the New Testament – Roms 1:27, 1 Cor 6:9, 1 Tim 1:10. I can’t imagine an evangelical Christian stating that Paul is confused because he seems to be still listing things that are referred to the Jewish law. For a liberal Christian there would be no problem in rejecting these views.

  • Michael BG

    It appears I wasn’t clear, not helped by cutting out chunks when I think I am running over word counts.

    The point is if you want to score cheap points there is a little script that I have seen a relatively well prepped sixth former deliver well, starting with citing old testament references for the EC to explain that they don’t apply, followed by one new testament reference after another. Depending on the ECs particular interpretations they may answer each differently. The point is it looks bad being given example after example that is answered differently for each one, and even if each one makes logical sense (and who knows about accuracy when people may be reference historical situations from a couple of thousand years ago) it looks increasingly bad and like excuses.

    Now this can be entertaining to watch depending on the personalities involved it doesn’t really give anyone a better understanding of a position. The red flag for me is when the question starts from the Old Testament, I find those who kick off with the new testament (normally Tim). Seem to be asking about the whole point as there is not scope to ‘escalate’ from an answer.

    As I said I expect interviewers on TV to set up in a way that will bring viewers up to speed by setting a sufficiently clear scene to allow all viewers to engage at a decent level. What was apparent from the Ch4 interview was it was set up as a “gotcha” interview, perhaps entertaining but not a positive outcome for British politics.

  • Richard Underhill 19th Jun '17 - 11:50pm

    In 2010 Paddy Ashdown spoke at a fringe meeting at federal conference and gave a scoop to Andrew Rawnsley of the Guardian-Observer.
    Paddy Ashdown had been negotiating with Labour about a possible coalition, despite the mathematical difficulties (Labour + Lib Dems +3 SDLP? +1 Green? giving a majority of one with Sinn Fein not taking their seats). Gordon Brown was Prime Minister, but a deal was not possible with him (as Labour people such as Peter Mandelson had found) and a deal was not possible without him (GB’s vote was needed and he would need to whip Labour MPs).
    Paddy Ashdown had Tony Blair’s phone number, so he said he rang it. It was answered by Cherie Blair who promised to pass on a message. Tony Blair phoned back. Paddy Ashdown said Gordon Brown is an obstacle. Tony Blair said “Leave it to me”.
    Gordon Brown resigned as PM.

  • Richard Underhill 20th Jun '17 - 10:08am

    Nonconformistradical 15th Jun ’17 – 2:14pm and an SNP troll.
    Leadership candidates should get on with it. A job for Tim Farron should be whatever he wants, housing perhaps? probably not deputy leader, he may simply have decided that he has had enough. A holiday perhaps? Time with family and/or constituency?

  • Catherine “I suppose it’s possible that he believes *all* sex outside marriage to be a sin -whether straight or gay, and believes all sex within marriage to be not a sin – whether gay or straight.”

    Yes that is a possible explanation, thank you, and it would explain why he says his belief system is incompatible with being the leader of a modern liberal party. Such beliefs have no place in modern society and have caused great hurt in the past and also currently in many parts of the world, usually to the women affected.

  • Phyllis

    “it would explain why he says his belief system is incompatible with being the leader of a modern liberal party”

    I’m not sure I follow.

    Let’s put aside “sin” for a minute as people will project their interpretations on to others.

    Let’s take veganism. Let’s assume someone is a vegan because they consider it immoral to consume animal products but isn’t a pushy vegan and talks about it to people who are interested, our vegan is liberal and believes they shouldn’t impose their morality on anyone else.

    Now are their views “belief system is incompatible with being the leader of a modern liberal party” somehow?

    From the critics of Tim Farron this person would be unable to be the leader of a Liberal party as they are judging the vast vast majority of the country to be immoral. I’m not sure they would be so consistent.

  • Psi I was actually referring to Catherine’s suggestion that perhaps Tim considers all sex outside marriage to be wrong. If true, I don’t think that is a view compatible with modern liberalism. Women are stoned in certain countries for having sex outside marriage, even if that sex was rape. Women were ostracised not so long ago in this country for having sex outside marriage, disowned by their own family and shunned by their communities. I’m struggling to see how these consequences compare with Meat-eating vs veganism.

  • Phyliss

    “Catherine’s suggestion that perhaps Tim considers all sex outside marriage to be wrong. If true, I don’t think that is a view compatible with modern liberalism”

    I got that, I still don’t see the connection. It looks like we can’t exclude the issue of it being a “sin.” I am going to be assuming that Tim interprets that as acts that violate the Christian Gods will (based upon the fact that is a relatively normal definition and where he stated he considers that everyone is a “sinner”).
    From the interviews:
    Tim doesn’t consider himself theologically entitles to judge others;
    Tim believes that everyone should have equal rights;
    The law shouldn’t judge religious questions.

    Based upon this the only use of defining any action as “sin” in Tim’s mind is governing how he acts, so in this case him not having sex outside of marriage (and presumably what he teaches his children).

    So your suggestion that this belief (under the circumstances above) would be incompatible with modern liberalism seems very odd. Is he not a liberal because he chooses to behave a certain way in his personal life? That makes no sense to me. That is why a comparison with veganism is appropriate.

    Would he receive “redemption” from his critics if he doesn’t consider it a sin but just chooses not to engage in certain behaviours?

    As I have said further up, this is religious purity testing and it is very odd to see it engaged in from certain quarters.

    I’ll have to come back on the other point as I don’t have time right now.

  • Additionally one point that I think has been missed is the impact of what has happened to Tim in a wider context. Many of those who have joined in attacking him for their belief of what his belief is, and those such as Channel 4 who chose to set up s discussion of a complex topic in a simplified “gotcha” way, is who this looks to others.

    I’m sure all of us here and those who have attacked Tim would want to see countries who have incorporated religious teaching in to their legal systems reverse this and move to a secular system where religion became a matter of personal conscience (or, at most if people must, voluntary self-selected community matters, like a self-policing exclusive religious community).

    Does anyone think that a chunk of media (and discussion on social media) focusing on attacking the leader of one party on the basis of their holding a private (not entirely publicly understood) faith, is an advantageous example for those who are arguing for secularism (or mild moves towards it) in theocracies? I sure I, if in that society, wouldn’t welcome these examples for the defenders of theocratic rule to be able to cherry pick to bolster their case.

  • Phyllis

    I’m not sure why you felt the need to Gender the comment that living in an oppressive theocracy is not a positive experience. I don’t know anyone, regardless of gender, who would willingly go to live in one.

  • Richard Underhill 14th Jul '17 - 9:27am

    “A BBC journalist in a beautiful golden dress interviewed Alistair Carmichael”
    This morning she was interviewing Sir David Attenborough about butterflies and called him “Sir Richard Attenborough”. He did not complain about the reference to his late brother. She later apologised. Both brothers are world famous. David was head of BBC2.
    The BBC is also reporting that “Tim Farron has revealed (that) he decided to quit several weeks before the general election but did not announce his decision publicly. … he had put the decision “to bed” about two weeks into the campaign.”
    “I absolutely threw everything at it.”

  • Richard Underhill 14th Jul '17 - 9:57am

    David and Jonathon Dimbleby are used to being mistaken for each other. If in doubt “Mr. Dimbleby” suffices, but try confusing Jonathon Dimbleby with his late father Richard on the BBC and see what happens.

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