Tim Farron says he found it “impossible” to hold to the Bible’s teaching and lead the Liberal Democrats, as he announced his resignation from the role.
Explaining that he was the “subject of suspicion because of what I believe and who my faith is in”, he said, “we are kidding ourselves if we think we yet live in a tolerant, liberal society”.
Speaking at his Party’s headquarters in London, Farron outlined his passion for the Lib Dems, but said his faith is more important.
During the election campaign, Farron was hounded for his views concerning homosexuality – resulting in him telling the BBC in April that homosexual practice is not sinful.
However, an opinion poll for The Christian Institute showed a clear majority of people support the right of politicians with traditional views to express them.
Resigning yesterday, Farron said the focus on issues like abortion and homosexuality led him to be torn between his faith and his work.
‘Better, wiser person’
He 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.
“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.”
Drawing his statement to a close, he emphasised his continued love for the Party.
And he said: “Imagine how proud I am to lead my 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’.”
Yesterday the Lib Dems’ Home Affairs spokesman Lord Brian Paddick, who is gay, announced that he had quit his role citing differences with Tim Farron.
He subsequently tweeted: “I have the utmost respect for @timfarron & his beliefs. Now isn’t the time to justify my actions but to thank Tim for everything he’s done.”