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Tim Farron says it’s the job of liberals to defend JK Rowling’s explosive views on trans rights and trans bodies

Emma Powys Maurice July 18, 2020
Tim Farron

Tim Farron has called on liberals to defend liberalism (Christopher Furlong/Getty)

Former Lib Dem leader Tim Farron has argued that liberals should be fighting for JK Rowling’s right to express anti-trans views.

Writing in a blog on Medium, Farron argued for the need to “reclaim a genuine liberalism in our debate” and allow people to voice offensive views, even if those views “strike at the heart of [your] identity”.

“Simply fighting for your own rights is never enough,” he claimed, suggesting that true liberals would fight for the freedoms of extremists rather than ‘cancelling’ them.

“Take the recent Twitter storm surrounding JK Rowling,” he said. “The first people to defend her should be the liberals.

“Not because they agree with her — they may think she is utterly wrong — but because liberalism fights for the rights of those with different views to be heard.

“It takes time to listen, seeks to understand other perspectives and only then — if both sides maintain their positions — agree to disagree respectfully.”

The MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale has frequently been forced to defend his own “offensive” views, which often appear to contradict those of his liberal party.

His two-year stint as Lib Dem leader was marred by accusations of homophobia as he refused to answer whether he believed homosexual sex to be a sin.

He came under fire earlier this week after it was revealed that he accepted £75,000 in donations from an organisation whose Christian director tweeted in support of conversion therapy.

Farron’s register of interests show he received a donation from Faith in Public which provided him with a policy adviser two days a week, worth an estimated maximum value of £9,100.

According to the Independent, the organisation also donated the services of two policy advisers the previous two years at a total value of £50,319, as well as the services of a public relations company to the value of £15,000.

It is currently Lib Dem party policy to ban the vile practice of conversion therapy.

More: JK Rowling, lib dems, Liberalism, tim farron

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