Lib Dem leadership frontrunner Tim Farron has an 'anti-gay' voting record, says Peter Tatchell

Mr Tatchell says he was misquoted by Mr Farron

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Indy Politics

Liberal Democrat leadership frontrunner Tim Farron “misquoted” campaigner Peter Tatchell to justify his “anti-gay” voting record, Mr Tatchell has said.

On Sunday Mr Farron appeared on the BBC’s Sunday Politics programme and struggled to convincingly answer questions about why he voted against a number of measures to protect LGBT people from discrimination.

Explaining why he did not vote for a law to outlaw selective service provision for gay people he cited Mr Tatchell.

But appearing on the Daily Politics programme the next day, the campaigner said the potential Lib Dem leader had been mistaken.

“I supported the sexual orientation regulations which gave legal protection to gay people against discrimination. Tim Farron voted against [them],” he said.

“It’s not the first time he’s misquoted me in defence of his anti-gay voting record. Back in 2010 in the passage of the Equalities Act Tim Farron was against giving the same obligations to religious organisations as everyone else.

“He wanted religious exemptions from the Equality Act, I did not, yet his quoted me in supporting his position.”

Mr Tatchell said free speech, a cause cited by Mr Farron, was a “separate issue” from discrimination and that he had “very publicly” made his position known.

“Free speech is a separate [issue] and maybe Tim just got confused about different laws and legislations,” he said.

“But there’s no doubt he voted against anti discrimination laws to protect LGBT people in 2007 and he wanted religious exemptions under the quality act 2010. I did not support either of those positions and I said so very publicly.”

Mr Farron issued a statement of apology for his comments on Sunday.

“I do apologise without reservation if I have misremembered Peter Tatchell’s position. But to be clear I do believe that if you provide a service it must be offered on an equal basis. If this comes against I will vote accordingly,” he said.


The leadership hopeful had also said he voted against the rules because they did not go far enough to protect transgender people.

Mr Tatchell accepted Mr Farron’s apology but added: “He abstained from one of the key votes on same-sex marriage as well. It doesn’t look good – for him to now be portraying himself who has long supported gay rights I think that’s a distortion.

“People have a right to hold religious beliefs but I don’t think they should be translated into discriminatory laws. That’s what Tim Farron did.”

Mr Farron is one of two contenders for the Liberal Democrat leadership, the other being former coalition minister Norman Lamb.