Tim Farron hit by frontbench resignation over gay sex and abortion views
Brian Paddick has quit the Liberal Democrat front bench in protest at Tim Farron’s views on homosexuality and abortion.
Lord Paddick, who had been home affairs spokesman throughout the election campaign, announced on Twitter that he was resigning “over concerns about the leader’s views on various issues” that came to the fore in the run-up to the election.
A spokesperson for Mr Farron responded to the news: "We thank Brian for his service."
Mr Farron, who is a devout Christian, repeatedly ducked questions about whether he believed gay sex was a sin in the early stages of the campaign – before clarifying that he did not.
His past comments on abortion were another subject of scrutiny, after a 2007 interview emerged in which he said abortion was “wrong”.
The LIb Dem leader stressed that he had never advocated restricting access to abortion, and that he had “changed his mind” in the last decade.
His party won 12 seats in last week’s general election, four more than in 2015, despite their share of the vote dropping slightly on two years ago.
Earlier today Mr Farron announced there would be an election to be deputy leader of the party.
The Lib Dem leader said: “In the last parliament we didn’t have any women in our parliamentary party and we didn’t feel it was right to elect a deputy in those circumstances. But I wanted to revive the role as it gives the party another powerful voice and has helped give prominence to many of our notable MPs, including Ming Campbell, Simon Hughes and Vince Cable.
“Now a third of our parliamentary party is female and we have our most diverse group of MPs ever, I feel our MPs form a more representative group to elect a deputy leader.
“There is still much more work needed to make ourselves more like the nation we seek to represent, but this is a really positive time for our party after increasing our number of MPs by 50%.”