I had a Thatcher pic on my bedroom wall, Farron tells ITV

Lib Dem leader Tim Farron has admitted in an ITV interview he had a picture of Margaret Thatcher above his bed as a schoolboy.

The Lib Dem leader has denied reports that he was a teenage Tory supporter despite the coveted photograph.

In an exclusive interview for ITV’s Tonight programme, the Liberal Democrat leader rejected claims from a old friend that he had an "I love Maggie" sticker as a schoolboy.

"I had all sort of kind of weird icons that I was into," he said.

"I had a Carl Sagan photograph above my bed who was of course the great - I guess the human voice of Nasa.

"I had pictures of strange sort of left-wing politicians. I remember I had a Mrs Thatcher picture.

Space expert Carl Sagan Credit: PA

"I had a John F Kennedy picture. I had a Jo Grimond picture."

When asked if he did have an "I love Maggie" sticker on his book, he replied: "No, I don't believe I did."

Following controversy over his views on gay sex in recent weeks, Julie interviews a friend, Ian, who reveals he came out to Farron as a teenager.

Former Liberal Party leader Jo Grimond Credit: PA

Ian said: "He’s the first person I came out to as being gay when I was 19, he absolutely just took it in his stride, it’s never been an issue and he always absolutely makes me feel welcome and my own personal experience is that he isn’t homophobic and that he is absolutely liberal in his values.”

Farron said he was "genuinely moved that he trusted me".

When asked about whether it was an error of judgement that he didn’t come out sooner to say he didn’t think gay sex was a sin, he said: “I think real judgement is believing that one’s personal and private faith is just that…

"I think most people believe that in politics and in all life people’s personal faith is just that and it is not right for us to force that on other people not to be forced to be in a position where one has to talk about the intricate details of one’s faith. But I am determined to build a country, to lead a country where LGBT rights are absolutely central to it.”

Farron at a campaign rally Credit: PA

On abortion, he said: “Can I just be very clear on that I have a very strong view that when abortion takes place it should be safe and it should be legal… and I support the law as things stand. Again what one believes in one’s personal private faith is just that.”

Asked if there be an upper limit to immigration and if so what should it be, Farron says: “I don’t think you should set a figure and the reasons why is you then make it very hard for British business to do what’s good for British business…

"I’m not saying no figure but you set an artificial figure you will break it and you’ll end up telling British business what is good for British business.

Farron being confronted by a pensioner at a campaign event Credit: PA

"And I think immigration’s been a blessing to this country not a curse there are few politicians who’ve got the guts to say that, I will. But we have controls on immigration this country and too often politicians are too happy to use immigration and immigrants in particular as an excuse for their own failures and I will not do that.”

The Tim Farron programme is the first in a series half-hour Tonight programmes ahead of the General Election.

The Tonight election specials will also feature interviews with Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn, Paul Nuttall - as well as Nicola Sturgeon, Leanne Wood and Caroline Lucas - focusing on the leaders covering their lives, interests, policies and their vision for the future.

  • The full interview will be broadcast on ITV at 8pm on Monday.