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Phil Hornby reports on resignation of Tim Farron

Tim Farron has resigned as Lib Dem leader Credit: ITV

Tim Farron has quit as Liberal Democrat leader less than a week after the General Election after facing scrutiny over his Christian views.

The 47-year-old, who succeeded Nick Clegg in the wake of the party's shocking 2015 election results, stood down hours after the party's senior frontbench spokesman Lord Paddick quit in protest at Mr Farron's views.

The few gains the Lib Dems made last week - such as Eastbourne and Oxford West and Abingdon - masked the real disappointment the party felt at their result, writes political correspondent Phil Hornby.

At their Brighton conference last autumn, confidence was sky-high: their strategy to appeal to the 48 per cent who voted Remain looked to them like a surefire and quick route tor recovery. It didn't happen.

Brexit didn't get much of a look-in during the campaign. Indeed Stephen Lloyd only won his Eastbourne seat by distancing himself from Farron's EU policy.

But there are other reasons too. Lib Dems say voter reaction to Farron's initially equivocal answers during the campaign to questions about gay sex was hostile and long-lasting. It seems he was enormously damaged.

Brits, it seems, don't like to mix politics with religion. It is significant that the event which seemed to lead to tonight's announcement was the resignation of Brian Paddick, the gay former senior Met policeman. So there will be a leadership contest in the Lib Dems - and more importantly for them, a real debate about what their future should be in a political system which seems to be moving back to the traditional 2-party Con v Lab fight.

– Phil Hornby