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Statement from LGBT+ Liberal Democrats on the resignation of Tim Farron

June 19, 2017 1:38 PM

We note with regret the resignation of Tim Farron as leader of the Liberal Democrats, and his comments outlining his personal difficulties in aligning private believes with public office.

From the start of the election campaign Tim was hounded by both the media and high profile supporters of other parties who were intent on exposing and exploiting his assumed personal views, and isolating these from both the views of the party and his actions as both MP and Leader. By his own acknowledgement Tim failed to adequately answer such questions and they cast a shadow over the campaign. Nonetheless, LGBT+ Lib Dems were at the forefront of the efforts to defend Tim based on his proven track record of friendship and support for our rights.

During Tim's time as leader, the Liberal Democrats passed the most far reaching policy any party has ever had in favour of trans equality. In addition, he has been vocal on ending the "Blood Ban" on some people giving blood based on prejudices about their sexual behavior, and was the first party leader to speak out against human rights abuses against gay men in Chechnya.

We recognise that many of our LGBT+ members are also people of faith, and firmly believe that the Liberal Democrats should be a place open and tolerant for people of all faiths and none, just as much as it should be a place for people of all sexualities and genders. These are values that Tim has always stood for, and we would like to place on record our thanks to him, and to wish him all the best for the future.

We look forward to continuing our work with our new leader, once they are elected, promoting PrEP for all that want it, X gender markers on passports, and extending civil partnerships to all couples, amongst many other issues.

Separately, LGBT+ Lib Dems note the decision of our honorary president Lord Brian Paddick to step down as Shadow Home Secretary. Brian has done superlative work on the Home Affairs brief, particularly in developing the Engage strategy, and we look forward to working further with him in the future. We understand that his decision has given rise to fevered speculation that this was part of a co-ordinated attempt to oust Tim which we believe to be unjustified. We very much hope and intend there to be space for all of us in the Liberal tradition when commenting on the matter, and as an organisation we will continue to offer our support to both Brian and Tim.