Tim Farron

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Tim Farron
Tim Farron 2014 (gray background).jpg
Leader of the Liberal Democrats
Assumed office
16 July 2015
Preceded by Nick Clegg
President of the Liberal Democrats
In office
1 January 2011 – 1 January 2015
Leader Nick Clegg
Preceded by The Baroness Scott of Needham Market
Succeeded by The Baroness Brinton
Member of Parliament
for Westmorland and Lonsdale
Assumed office
5 May 2005
Preceded by Tim Collins
Majority 8,949 (18.3%)
Personal details
Born Timothy James Farron
(1970-05-27) 27 May 1970 (age 51)
Preston, England, UK
Political party Liberal Democrats
Spouse(s) Rosie Farron
Children 2 daughters
2 sons
Alma mater Newcastle University
Religion Anglicanism

Timothy James Farron (born 27 May 1970) is a British politician who was the Leader of the Liberal Democrats from 16 July 2015 until 14 June 2017.[1] He was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Westmorland and Lonsdale since 2005 and was the President of the Liberal Democrats from 2011 to 2015.[2][3]

Early life

Farron was born in Preston, Lancashire, and educated at Lostock Hall High School and Runshaw College, Leyland, before going on to Newcastle University where he gained a BA in Politics in 1992. He was president of Newcastle University Union Society, the first Liberal Democrat to hold the position, in 1991, having joined the Liberal Party at the age of 16. In 1990, he was elected to the National Union of Students' National Executive.[4]

Before his election to Parliament, Farron worked in higher education at Lancaster University from 1992 to 2002 and St. Martin's College, Ambleside, from 2002 to 2005.

Farron, a Christian, is a prominent example of someone bullied and intimidated out of their job by militant LGBT activists. He resigned on 14 June 2017 after a campaign of harassment and intimidation during the UK General Election. [5]

Political career

Farron contested North West Durham at the 1992 general election, where he finished in third place, 20,006 votes behind the sitting Labour Party MP Hilary Armstrong.

Farron served on Lancashire County Council from 1993 to 2000 and was also a councillor on South Ribble Borough Council from 1995 to 1999.

Farron was selected to contest the Labour/Conservative marginal constituency of South Ribble at the 1997 general election, and again finished in third place. He was a Liberal Democrat candidate for the North West region in the 1999 European Parliament elections.

At the 2001 general election, Farron contested the Westmorland and Lonsdale seat and finished second, reducing the majority of the sitting Conservative MP Tim Collins to 3,167.

Farron served as a councillor for the Milnthorpe ward on the South Lakeland District Council from 2004 to 2008.

At the 2005 general election, Farron again fought Collins in Westmorland and Lonsdale, and this time won this election by a narrow margin of just 267 votes. He made his maiden speech in Parliament on 25 May 2005.[6]

Farron has been a member of the Education and Skills Select Committee since his election, and later in 2005 was appointed as Youth Affairs Spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats. He is the Chair of the All Party group on Hill Farming.

During Menzies Campbell's period as the Liberal Democrat leader, Farron was Campbell's Parliamentary Private Secretary. In 2007 he was made Liberal Democrat spokesman for Home Affairs.

Farron resigned from the front bench of the Liberal Democrats on 5 March 2008 in protest at the party's abstention from a parliamentary vote on the EU referendum. However he later returned to the party's front bench as spokesperson for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.[7] He is a member of the Beveridge Group within the Liberal Democrats.[8]


In the 2010 general election, Farron achieved an 11.1% swing from the Conservatives, winning by a majority of 12,264 in his historically Tory seat. This result was against the run of the rest of the party, making Westmorland and Lonsdale one of the few Liberal Democrat strongholds.[9]

On 27 May 2010, Farron announced he would be standing for the position of Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats, made vacant by the resignation of Vince Cable. On 9 June, Farron lost the competition to the former party President, Simon Hughes. Hughes won by 20 votes; having had 38 nominations from the parliamentary party, compared to Farron's 18.

Farron in 2008
Farron speaking at a Liberal Democrat conference in the Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow, 2014.

On 16 September 2010, Farron announced he would be standing for the position of President of the Liberal Democrats following The Baroness Scott's decision not to seek re-election. He won the election with 53% of the vote, beating fellow candidate Susan Kramer on 47%.[10]

In March 2012, Farron was one of three MPs who signed a letter sent to the Advertising Standards Authority, criticising their recent decision to stop the Christian group "Healing on the Streets of Bath" from making explicit claims that prayer can heal. The letter called for the ASA to provide indisputable scientific evidence that faith healing did not work; Farron subsequently admitted that the letter was not "well-worded" and that he should not have signed it "as it was written".[11]

Farron was one of only eight Liberal Democrats elected nationwide at the 2015 general election. He was considered a favourite to succeed Clegg as Leader of the Liberal Democrats.[12]

In May 2015, Farron confirmed his bid for the Liberal Democrat leadership on BBC Radio 4.[13]

On 16 July 2015 it was announced that Farron had won the leadership election with 56.5% of the vote, ahead of Norman Lamb who achieved 43.5%.[14]

Leadership of the Liberal Democrats

Farron's first speech at the Liberal Democrat September 2015 Conference in Bournemouth was praised in the press.[15] Immediately after Farron's speech, the Liberal Democrats increased in political polls by 7%[16] to 9%.[17]

Political position

Among political observers, Farron is widely seen as being of left-leaning political position.[18][19][20][21] Although he is typically seen as being on the left of the Liberal Democrats, he usually self-identifies as being of a centrist political position, also referring to himself as a liberal. On 13 May 2015, in an interview with BBC Radio 4's The World at One, he said that the centre of British politics was "where we need to be".[22]

Policy as Lib Dem Leader

In August 2015, Farron identified seven campaigning priorities for the Liberal Democrats. These were rural affairs, the EU referendum, mental health, immigration, civil liberties, the green economy, and housing.[23]

Under-occupancy penalty

Farron was one of only two Liberal Democrats to vote against the under-occupancy penalty (also known as the bedroom tax) in 2012.[24]


In December 2010, he voted against increasing the cap on undergraduate university tuition fees from £3,000 to £9,000.[25] Referring to Nick Clegg's earlier pledge not to raise fees—and the previous long-standing Liberal Democrat policy of abolishing them—he said: "Integrity is important. You must not only keep your word but be seen to keep your word. You can say no."[26]


He was the first senior British politician to back the EU proposal for a quota to take in refugees during the Mediterranean crisis. He called for the UK to accept up to 60,000 non-EU refugees to help with the influx. He attended the Refugee solidarity march in London on 14 September 2015 and gave the opening speech.[24]

Representation of women and minorities

Farron said that 50% of target seats will be represented by women and 10 per cent of target seats will be represented by black, Asian and minority ethnic (BME) candidates.

Farron's appointment of party spokespeople was applauded for its diversity with 12 women and 10 men given positions. Women also took high ranking roles such as defence and economics spokesperson.[27][24]

LGBT demands

Farron voted in favour of allowing so-called "marriage" between two people of same sex at the second reading of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill but he voted not to timetable the debate on the Bill, which would have made it much more difficult to pass had the House of Commons agreed with his position;[28] and he was absent for the vote for redefining marriage on the third reading of the Bill.[29] In 2014 he voted in favour of extending access to same sex marriage to Armed Forces personnel outside the United Kingdom.[30] He currently holds a 90.4% rating on the issue of Same Sex Marriage according to the website, The Public Whip.[30]

In 2007 he voted against the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations, which for the first time imposed a general restriction on businesses discriminating against people on the grounds of sexual orientation.[31] However, in May 2015 he defended a court ruling which found that a Belfast bakery had acted unlawfully in refusing to carry out an order for a cake in support of gay marriage - saying "If you’re providing a service, that’s the key thing – you need to do so without prejudice, without discrimination against those who come through your door."[32]

Farron's view was later overturned by a High Court, which rightly decided that the bakery should not be forced to produce items bearing wording, slogans or messages with which they disagreed.

Defence policy

He voted against replacing Trident with a like for like submarine-based nuclear weapons system.[33]

Personal life

Farron married Rosemary Cantley in July 2000 in Lancaster. The couple live in Milnthorpe, within the constituency Farron represents, with their two daughters (Isabella and Gracie, born in September 2001) and two sons (Jude and Laurie, born January 2004 and January 2006), the younger son being born since his election to Parliament. He is a committed Christian and says that "becoming a Christian at the age of eighteen [was] the most massive choice I have made."[34]

Bullying Campaign and Resignation

Despite his willingness to vote for same-sex marriage, during the 2017 General Election campaign Farron was followed around to public meetings and hustings by LGBT activists who kept badgering him to answer questions about his views on homosexuality. When one of them asked him "Is it a sin?" he answered equivocally, "We are all sinners." This was not enough to satisfy the homo-fascists, who then subjected him to a full-scale bullying campaign on social media. Homosexuals such as Sue Perkins and David Walliams TV comedians, goaded him on Twitter, ignoring all other issues, demanded a plainer answer.

Television newsreader Cathy Newman who is a well-trained LGBT ally, interviewed Farron for Channel 4 TV, and recurred to the same subject. He assured her that he was passionate "about equal marriage and about equal rights for LGBT people, for fighting for LGBT rights, not just in this country but overseas." Yet this was still not enough. She tweeted criticism of him, stirring up more and more hostility among her thousands of social media followers. David Baddiel denounced Farron as a "fundamentalist Christian homophobe" and thousands of people joined in the orgy of bullying and online abuse that followed. Predictably he was labelled a "bigot" and told his views were a "disgrace". UK Labour Party politicians took advantage of the situation by adding their own condemnations.[35]

Leading LGBT activists within his own party such as Lord Paddick refused to work with him because they were intolerant of his Christian faith. [36]

A week after the election, Farron resigned saying he could no longer reconcile his strong Christian faith with his responsibilities as leader of a liberal party. "The consequences of the focus on my faith is that I have found myself torn between living as a faithful Christian and serving as a political leader," he said. [37] [38]

He said that in modern Britain Christians are now seen as dangerous and offensive. [39]


  1. "Tim Farron elected as Leader of the Liberal Democrats". Liberal Democrats. 16 July 2015. Retrieved 16 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Liberal Democrat Voice article on results - Lib Dem Voice
  3. "Cambridgeshire campaigner becomes new President of the Liberal Democrats". itv.com. 29 November 2014. Retrieved 22 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Tim Farron MP – MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, Party President | The Liberal Democrats - Our MPs in Detail". Libdems.org.uk. 13 November 2010. Retrieved 18 September 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-40281300
  6. House of Commons Debates for 25 May 2005 - Hansard
  7. MP Tim Farron resigns from Lib Dem frontbench - The Westmorland Gazette 5 March 2008
  8. About us - The Beveridge Group 28 October 2007
  9. "BBC News - Election 2010 - Constituency - Westmorland & Lonsdale". BBC News. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 9 May 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Tim Farron elected as Lib Dem president". BBC News. 13 November 2010. Retrieved 13 November 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Tim Farron: 'Prayer Can Heal' Letter Was A Mistake". Huffington Post UK. 29 March 2012. Retrieved 30 March 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Parker, George and Stacey, Kiran. "Nick Clegg resigns as Liberal Democrats suffer electoral catastrophe", Financial Times, 8 May 2015. (accessed 9 May 2015)
  13. "Liberal Democrat leadership: Tim Farron confirms his bid". BBC News. 14 May 2015. Retrieved 14 May 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Tim Farron elected as Leader of the Liberal Democrats". Liberal Democrats. 16 July 2015. Retrieved 16 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/sep/20/tim-farron-plays-to-strengths-with-gaffe-free-performance-at-lib-dem-party-conference
  16. http://comres.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/IoS-SM-September-Poll_Tables.pdf
  17. https://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/3626/Corbyn-seen-as-more-honest-than-most-politicians-but-Cameron-leads-on-other-PM-attributes.aspx
  18. Nick Clegg resigns: Lib Dems rush to replace leader with Tim Farron and Norman Lamb as potential candidates - The Independent. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  19. Tim Farron not a 'credible leader' for Lib Dems, says Vince Cable - The Guardian. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  20. - Leftwinger Tim Farron is now 'unstoppable' in battle to replace Nick Clegg as leader after a Lib Dem election wipeout - Daily Mail. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  21. Exclusive: Tim Farron: Lib Dems will have to back Labour if they win more seats than the Tories - NewStatesman. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  22. Tim Farron: Extremism proposals "authoritarian and Orwellian" - BBC Radio 4. Aired and retrieved 13 May 2015.
  23. "Tim Farron unveils Lib Dem campaigning priorities".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 "24 things you didn't know about Tim Farron".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. Tuition fees: How Liberal Democrat MPs voted - BBC News. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  26. Tory coalition will tarnish Lib Dems for a generation, Tim Farron warns - The Guardian. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  27. http://www.libdems.org.uk/new-lib-dem-spokespeople-announced
  28. [1] - Commons Hansard 5 February 2013
  29. [2] - Commons Hansard 21 May 2013
  30. 30.0 30.1 [3] - The Public Whip website
  31. [4] - Commons Hansard 19 March 2007
  32. "BBC Question Time panel criticises 'gay cake' row bakery". PinkNews website. 22 May 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  33. How Tim Farron voted on issues - They Work For You. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  34. Johnny Monro (15 May 2015). "Could Tim Farron finally quash the myth that Christianity and Liberalism don't mix?". Christian Today. Retrieved 15 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  35. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/04/19/absolute-disgrace-tim-farron-fire-refusing-answer-asked-gay/
  36. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/tim-farron-resigns-liberal-democrats-leader-election-statement-announcement-a7790396.html
  37. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-40281300
  38. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/tim-farron-resigns-liberal-democrats-leader-election-statement-announcement-a7790396.html
  39. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/42638420

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Tim Collins
Member of Parliament
for Westmorland and Lonsdale

Party political offices
Preceded by
The Baroness Scott of Needham Market
President of the Liberal Democrats
Succeeded by
The Baroness Brinton
Preceded by
Nick Clegg
Leader of the Liberal Democrats