Tim Farron exits as Lib Dem leader as Sir Vince Cable crowned successor
Sir Vince Cable has automatically become the leader of the Liberal Democrats, after he was the only person to put his name forward to succeed Tim Farron.
Mr Farron, a devout Christian who led the anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats party, had announced his plans to quit after a poor showing in last month’s General Election.
In his leaving speech the leader said he has found it impossible “to live as a committed Christian” while leading a liberal party, referencing repeated questions about his views on homosexuality.
His resignation was apparently sparked when the party’s Shadow Home Secretary Lord Paddick, who is gay, resigned abruptly, citing Mr Farron’s views.
Since announcing his departure Mr Farron has spoken out several times about feeling “persecuted” as a result of his beliefs on homosexuality.
The leader officially left office today, as nominations closed for candidates in the race to succeed him.
Of the party’s 11 other MPs, Sir Vince Cable was the only candidate to put forward his name, meaning he automatically becomes the leader today, by default.
Under party rules only Members of Parliament were eligible to stand.
Sir Vince, who first became an MP in 1997, is a strong and consistent supporter of LGBT rights, unlike Mr Farron, who has a mixed record.
The politician voted in favour of lowering the age of consent, same-sex adoption, voted to repeal Section 28, voted for Civil Partnerships, and voted in favour of same-sex marriage.
Sir Vince Cable previously criticised Farron’s handling of questions about gay sex.
He said: “[Tim] did, as he himself acknowledged, not handle that whole issue very well at reconciling his own personal faith with his public positions on gay rights and other issues.
“His position was a perfectly fair one. A lot of people have private views deriving from their religion, but they have to put these to one side when they’re enacting public policy.”
He added that Farron had done the right thing to step down from the leader position.
He said: “[Tim] acknowledged that he hadn’t got that right and that’s why he stood down.”