Gay Lib Dem Brian Paddick quits frontbench over Tim Farron’s views

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Gay Lib Dem peer Lord Paddick has quit as the party’ Shadow Home Secretary over a rift with leader Tim Farron.

Lord Paddick, who was the Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London  in 2008 and 2012, had served in Mr Farron’s top team as Shadow Home Secretary.

The peer, who was the most senior LGBT Lib Dem, dramatically quit today.
Brian Paddick

Lord Paddick, a former police chief, tweeted: “I’ve resigned as @LibDems Shadow Home Secretary over concerns about the leader’s views on various issues that were highlighted during GE17.”

A Lib Dem spokesperson told PinkNews: “We thank Brian for his service.”

PinkNews understands that the row goes beyond the row over whether Mr Farron believed that gay sex is a sin, with wider disagreements across other policy issues.

The Lib Dems gained three seats in last week’s election, but had a difficult campaign marred by repeated spats over Tim Farron’s views on homosexuality.

Mr Farron, who is an evangelical Christian, spent weeks dodging questions about whether he thinks gay sex is a sin before ultimately saying he does not. 

Lord Paddick had represented the Liberal Democrats at an LGBT hustings during the election campaign, co-hosted by Stonewall, PinkNews and Pride in London.

At the event he had made some defence of Mr Farron’s record on LGBT rights, as well as the work of the Liberal Democrats.

Responding to polling that found Mr Farron was the fourth most trusted leader on LGBT rights out of a field of seven, Lord Paddick had quipped that the leader would “probably settle for fourth”.

In a Q&A with PinkNews before the election, Mr Farron said:  “I am a proud advocate of LGBT equality and have a track record that demonstrates that.

“Initially I chose not to speak out on my views on gay sex as I really didn’t think anyone would want the General Election campaign to turn into a theological debate.

“As a leader of a political party, I don’t (and never will) see my role as making theological pronouncements. Nor did I think my role was to judge what is or isn’t a sin.

“However, it transpired that people formed an impression of me that was false and so I chose to speak out.

“I have made my view clear and now I hope the debate can move forward to addressing the massive injustices many LGBT+ people face in our society and abroad.”