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Tim Farron Interview On Channel 4 News Sees Lib Dem Leader Branded An 'Absolute Disgrace'

John McDonnell says Farron's comments are 'appalling'.

19/04/2017 08:29 | Updated 19 April 2017

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has been branded an “absolute disgrace” after again refusing to say if he thinks homosexuality is a “sin”.

Farron appeared on Channel 4 News on Tuesday and was quizzed by Cathy Newman on whether he continued to hold the beliefs he tried to defend to her in 2015, a day after he was made party leader.

The latest round of questioning was prompted by Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday announcing plans for a snap general election on June 8. 

Channel 4 News
Liberal Democrats Leader Tim Farron on Channel 4 News

During the live interview Farron failed to answer three times if he regarded homosexuality as a sin, prompting some viewers to slam him for his “intolerance and prejudice”. Owen Jones labelled Farron an “absolute disgrace”.

The criticism continued into Wednesday morning with Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell telling Piers Morgan that it is “appalling” if Farron thinks homosexuality is a sin. 

Newman asked Farron last night: “A while back I asked you if you thought that homosexuality was a sin and you struggled to answer. 

“Now you’ve had a while to consider that question, what is the answer?”

Farron replied: “I don’t think I struggled to answer it at all, Cathy. I think I’m not in the position to make theological announcements over the next six weeks.

“I’m not going to spend my time talking theology or making pronouncements.”

Newman reminded the MP that in 2015 she had asked him three times if homosexuality was a sin “and you said ‘we’re all sinners’. Is that still the answer?”

Farron replied: “As a Liberal, I’m passionate about equality, about equal marriage and about equal rights for LGBT people, for fighting for LGBT rights, not just in this country but overseas.

“Just because I’m Christian, it would be a bit boring for everybody to spend the next weeks asking me to make theological announcements that I’m not going to make.”

Farron was asked the same question repeatedly two years ago and answered by saying “to understand Christianity, is to understand that we are all sinners”. 

See a clip of that interview below

Farron has said in the past that his abstention on same-sex marriage legislation did not mean he opposed equal marriage.

He was among nine Lib Dem MPs who abstained at the third reading of the same-sex marriage bill, despite previously voting for the legislation.

Farron said he was attempting to support religious minorities, and later said he would “definitely regret it if people have misread that and think that means I’m lukewarm on equal marriage”.

The backlash on Twitter last night was led by TV stars Sue Perkins and David Walliams, and Guardian columnist, Jones. 

But others felt equally outraged.

But ex-Lib Dem equalities minister Lynne Featherstone defended her party’s leader.

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