Tim Farron: People should respect my beliefs as a Christian

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Lib Dem leader Tim Farron has insisted critics need to respect his views as a Christian.

Mr Farron said he did not understand why some people found his continued refusal to say whether he believes gay sex is sinful a concern.

Asked if he understood why critics are irked by his repeated reluctance to clarify his stance, Mr Farron told the Press Association: "I think it's a peculiar one.

"No, is the honest answer, because I think people look at my liberalism, my desire to support people's rights to make whatever choices they want, and I kind of also expect in the same way people - maybe it's a naive expectation - to respect my beliefs as a Christian.

"And obviously that means a whole range of things about how I then choose to live my life. It also means that I don't go around pointing the finger at anybody else.

"I don't go making pronouncements on theological matters. And I think as someone who is a liberal, everybody has the right to marry who they want to marry, love who they want to love, and that's the position we take."

After a Lib Dem conference consultative meeting overwhelmingly backed decriminalising sex work, Mr Farron said he would support such a move if the evidence endorsed it.

"You have got to be guided by the evidence, whatever it might be. And if the evidence points in that direction, then that's where we should go, but it's important we should have this consultative session," Mr Farron said.

The Lib Dem leader also warned about the rise of extremism in Labour and the Tories.

"They are both being wagged by an extremist tail," he said.