'I have found myself torn between living as a faithful Christian and serving as a political leader'
Tim Farron has resigned as leader of the Liberal Democrats following repeated questions over his Christian faith.
In a statement Wednesday evening, Mr Farron said: “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.”
He said he had found himself “torn” between being “living as a faithful Christian and serving as a political leader”.
“I seem to be the subject of what I believe and who my faith in is,” Mr Farron added in his resignation statement.
“In which case we are kidding ourselves if we think we yet live in a tolerant, liberal society.”
Mr Farron, who is on the Evangelical wing of the Church of England, was repeatedly dogged by questions over his views on homosexuality during his time as leader, especially during the election campaign.
After winning the party leadership in 2015, he was repeatedly asked whether his Christian faith meant he believed homosexuality was a sin. The questions then arose again in the recent election campaign, with Farron first prevaricating before eventually saying he did not think it was sinful.
The Guardian then dug up a 2007 interview in which Farron said abortion was “wrong”. He recanted that view during the campaign.
Earlier on Wednesday, Lord Paddick, who is Britain’s most senior openly gay police officer, resigned as the party’s home affair’s spokesman over “concerns about the leader’s views on various issues that were highlighted” during the election campaign.
Mr Farron narrowly held his Westmoreland and Lonsdale seat in last week’s election, but saw his party’s representation increase from nine seats to 12.