Brian Paddick endorses Tim Farron for Lib Dem leader and defends his voting record

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Out Liberal Democrat peer Brian Paddick has backed Tim Farron for Lib Dem leader – and defended his mixed record on LGBT rights.

Mr Farron, the MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, is one of two candidates to succeed Nick Clegg as Lib Dem leader, going up against former Health Minister Norman Lamb.

In an interview with PinkNews last month, Mr Farron addressed his mixed voting record, having voted against the programme motion for the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill in 2013, abstained on the third reading of the bill, and voted against the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations in 2007.

However, Lord Paddick has defended Mr Farron’s record, claiming: “As the Liberal Democrats’ gayest highest profile member I am absolutely confident that I can vote for Tim Farron and that he is absolutely 100% behind LGBTI rights.”

He told TheGayUK: “Tim Farron has come under a lot of criticism from people who either deliberately or simply misread Tim’s position when it came to votes in the House of Commons on equal marriage.

“He did ask for a change in the timetable to allow more discussion over complex issues around people who have honestly held beliefs who are currently employed as registrars, for example, who would feel very uncomfortable because it conflicts with their faith to conduct an equal marriage ceremony. He felt not enough time had been allowed in the parliamentary time belt to discuss those issues.

“He has made it absolutely clear subsequently, he was specifically asked by a group of Christians, if there was a equal marriage repeal act or bill to reverse the decision he would absolutely not support that in any way shape or form.”

The website did not ask Lord Paddick about the other issues with his voting record.

Lynne Featherstone, the Lib Dem MP who introduced the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, announced on PinkNews last month that she is chairing Norman Lamb’s leadership campaign.