By Roman King | LONDON
Tim Farron, leader of the U.K. Liberal Democratic Party since 2015, has suddenly stepped down from his leadership position just a week after the snap election. Citing his personal Christian faith as a motive for stepping down, Farron said that he was “torn between living as a faithful Christian and serving as a political leader.” Continuing his statement, Farron also said he should have dealt “more wisely” with questions involving his faith during the election, particularly his views on gay sex.
Farron stated that it was impossible for him to lead a progressive political party and hold his Christian values at the same time.
To be a leader, particularly of a progressive liberal party in 2017 and to live as a committed Christian and to hold faithful to the Bible’s teaching has felt impossible for me. A better, wiser person may have been able to deal with this more successfully, to remain faithful to Christ while leading a political party in the current environment.
The Liberal Democrats did gain three seats in the snap election, but Farron’s personal beliefs have brought criticism from party insiders. For example, Lord Brian Paddick, shadow home affairs spokesman of the Liberal Democrats resigned recently, citing concerns about Farron’s “views on various issues.”
On the other side of the coin, officials from the Church of England praised Farron. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said he was “honorable and decent.” Current Bishop of London Pete Broadbent said that “nobody should have to choose between their faith and politics”, and that it was “deeply regrettable” that he felt compelled to quit.
Possible successors to Tim Farron include former ministers Sir Vince Cable, Jo Swinson, Sir Ed Davey and Norman Lamb.