Tim Farron apologises for claiming Peter Tatchell opposed equality law

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Liberal Democrat leadership candidate Tim Farron has apologised, after claiming that campaigner Peter Tatchell was “on his side” when he voted against an equality law.

Mr Farron made the claim while appearing on the Sunday Politics, while discussing his vote against the 2007 Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations.

He said: “I’m in favour of that Act, I was also challenging it, as many other Liberals did.

“And by the way Peter Tatchell was on the same side as me, many others were as well, who thought it is right that you stand up in favour of protecting minority rights in these circumstances.”

Mr Tatchell, a veteran campaigner for of LGBT rights, was actually a vocal supporter of the Act – saying at the time: “The opponents of the sexual orientation regulations are promoting a highly selective and homophobic interpretation of religious morality.”

Speaking to PinkNews, Tim Farron apologised for “misremembering” the vote.

He told PinkNews: “I do apologise without reservation if I have misremembered Peter Tatchell’s position.

“But to be clear I do believe if you provide a service it must be offered on an equal basis and this comes up again I will vote accordingly.”

Mr Tatchell had told PinkNews yesterday: “Tim has misrepresented my views. I supported the anti-discrimination Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations in 2007. He voted against. I was not on the same side as Tim Farron.

“During the passage of Equalities Act 2010, he was in favour of giving religious groups exemption from the equality laws. I opposed that.

“I argued that faith organisations should have the same legal obligation to not discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation as everyone else.

“I’m annoyed that Tim has given a misleading impression about what I said.”

Out Lib Dem peer Lord Paddick recently endorsed Mr Farron, saying: “I am absolutely confident that I can vote for Tim Farron and that he is absolutely 100% behind LGBTI rights.”