Tim Farron confirms Lib Dem leadership bid

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Tim Farron has announced his bid to become leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Nick Clegg quit as Lib Dem leader last Friday after disastrous results in the general election leaving the party with just eight seats.

Mr Clegg retained his Sheffield Hallam seat in the 2015 general election, but after a few hours stepped down as party leader, celebrating same-sex marriage as one of his proudest achievements.

Mr Farron abstained from voting on same-sex marriage. He also voted to delay passage of the same-sex marriage bill, arguing it needed more time to review the impact on religious groups.

He voted against equal treatment and protections for LGBT people in the provision of goods and services, and with adoption agencies.

Former party president Mr Farron announced his bid to become leader on Radio 4’s Today Programme, saying the Lib Dems need to be a “liberal” and “tolerant” voice in British Politics.

“I believe that this party not only can be saved but must be saved,” the Westmorland and Lonsdale MP said.

Referring to Tory plans to scrap the Human Rights Act, and cut the welfare budget, Mr Farron said: “There has never been more need for a liberal voice”.

He also admitted forming a coalition Government in 2010 “was always going to be hugely damaging to the party”, but said it was “absolutely the right thing to do for the national interest”.

Writing on a newly launched campaign website, Mr Farron denied rumours that he planned to change the party’s name.

“I think rebranding ourselves, repositioning ourselves is very important. We’ve got to be absolutely radical about that but 18 months of a constitutional wrangle as we Tipp-Ex out a couple of words and add in another one in the constitution strikes me as a bit of a waste of time,” he wrote.

Mr Farron is backed by Scottish and Welsh Lib Dem leaders Willie Rennie and Kirsty Williams.

He joins former health minister Norman Lamb in the race for the leadership.

Mr Farron last year said David Cameron’s policy of mandatory ‘porn filters’ for internet service providers should be scrapped because “essential sites on sexual health, gender and sexuality, domestic violence and LGBT rights are being blocked”.

He previously tabled an Early Day Motion which asked that the House of Commons take note of the situation LGBT people face in Russia, following the passage of anti-gay laws.

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