LDV’s top 12 posts of 2017 – Number 6

So we kick off our second half of our most popular posts of 2017 with one of the most shocking and heartbreaking.

14th June is a day etched in our collective memory as the awful day when the Grenfell fire took place. We were all so horrified.

In the few days after the election, there had been some signs that all was not so harmonious in the parliamentary party. Some Lib Dem members of the House of Lords had publicly made clear their dissatisfaction with Tim Farron and there were reports of private grumblings.

We may never know exactly what it was that prompted Tim to resign so suddenly in the early evening. We had his resignation speech on video and text.

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.

It was a hard-hitting, shocking speech. Many members were deeply upset by his resignation, even though some found his words and position hard to come to terms with.

We won’t forget that he stood up for refugees and was the first party leader to actually get up off his backside and go to the refugee camps. We won’t forget how he stood up for the poorest at home and abroad and championed our values so well.

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One Comment

  • Peter Hirst 1st Jan '18 - 1:26pm

    I will remember Tim’s time as leader for the passion, humour and common sense he brought to the table. Perhaps at times he spoke too quickly and I put this down to his sense of urgency and caring for the matters he was discussing. What can be in no doubt is his authenticity and conviction in addressing the issues of the day.

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