Former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron says the Prime Minister’s...
Tim Farron steps down as general election shakes up Christian MPs
The leader of the Liberal Democrats and selfprofessed evangelical Christian Tim Farron has stepped down from leading the party, citing a clash between his faith and political views.
In a statement he said, “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.”
Farron faced repeated questioning during the general election campaign over his views on homosexuality. He also came under fire for previous statements on abortion.
The acting director of the religion and social affairs think tank Theos, Nick Spencer said: “Farron’s resignation is powerful, honest and alarming.
“Christianity was fundamental to the formation of political liberalism in the West. Liberalism seems now to be hacking away at these roots.
“Liberalism has a much-needed role to play in contemporary society, but it is increasingly being hijacked by those who think that liberal tolerance is only for tolerant liberals.
“Tim Farron’s conviction that the Christian faith is no longer compatible with leading a liberal party is both an indictment of, and warning to, our public life today.”
The news comes after other prominent Christian MPs including Conservative politicians David Burrowes (Enfield Southgate) and Nicola Blackwood (Oxford West and Abingdon) lost their seats following the general election result.
Other Christian MPs including Eastbourne’s Caroline Ansell and Canterbury’s Julian Brazier were among the list of Conservative politicians who lost out.
There was similar bad news for Labour’s Rob Flello (Stoke South) and Liberal Democrat Greg Mulholland (Leeds North West).
However, other prominent Christian MPs including Conservative’s Alistair Burt and Labour’s Chris Bryant held onto their seats.
Christians on the Left, which is affiliated with the Labour Party have praised Marsha Chantol De Cordova for defeating the Conservative minister Jane Ellison to win her seat in Battersea, south London. De Cordova, who is registered blind, has written “Love God Hate injustice & inequality” on her Twitter profile.
Christians on the Left also welcomed Fiona Onasanya (Peterborough) and David Drew (Stroud) as new MPs.
Overall, the Conservatives won 318 seats – eight short of the majority needed. Labour increased their seats from 232 to 262, while the Liberal Democrats gained four new seats and UKIP saw their vote share drop by 10 per cent.
Giving his verdict on the election, Premier’s political editor Martyn Eden said: “This is a disastrous result for everybody.
“It’s a disaster for Theresa May personally for obvious reasons. It’s a disastrous issue for the government and for the Conservative Party but I think it’s also a disaster for the Labour Party. They could have won this election and they failed.”
At the time of writing, Theresa May was expected to enter into an agreement with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in order to lead a minority Tory government.