Lord Paddick quits as Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokespeson following furore over leader Tim Farron's views on gay sex

The former Lib Dem London Mayoral candidate said the decision had been made 'weeks ago.'

Tom Peck
Wednesday 14 June 2017 14:38 BST
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Brian Paddick has quit as Lib Home Affairs spokesman over leader Tim Farron's views on gay sex
Brian Paddick has quit as Lib Home Affairs spokesman over leader Tim Farron's views on gay sex (PA)

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The Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Brian Paddick has resigned from his position citing "concerns about the leader's views on various issues" during the general election campaign.

Lord Paddick, a former police officer and London Lib Dem Mayoral candidate in 2008 and 2012, did not specify what views he referred to, but during the campaign leader Tim Farron came under heavy scrutiny for his repeatedly refusing to deny that he considered gay sex to be a sin.

Lord Paddick is gay, and a practising Christian too. He has been married to his Norwegian husband for eight years, but prior to this spent ten years married to a woman, Mary Stone. Lord Paddick said: "I've resigned as Lib Dems Shadow Home Secretary over concerns about the leader's views on various issues that were highlighted during GE17."

He has described this as "a genuine attempt to live as a straight man." In an interview with The Independent in 2008 he said. "It's what my faith as a Christian expected of me. It's what my parents expected of me. It's what the police service expected of me. Mary was a very beautiful and charming woman. It was a genuine attempt to try and deny my sexuality and to 'do the right thing'."

In the election campaign, Mr Farron, also a committed Christian, was asked by many broadcasters to confirm or deny his reported view that gay sex is a sin, but on every occasion merely said he did not want to get into "theological debates."

The Lib Dem leader has a proud record, campaigning and voting for equal marriage. In April, after five days of questions on the matter, he relented in a BBC interview and said he did not think that gay sex was a sin.

The Lib Dems lost five of their nine seats at the general election, but gained eight more, leaving them with twelve in total. Jo Swinson, who won back her seat in East Dumbartonshire is considered favourite to replace Tim Farron as leader.

A Liberal Democrat spokesperson said: "We thank Brian for his service."

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