Tim Farron says being gay is not a sin after pressure from MPs and celebrities to clarify his views

Hatty Collier
Tim Farron speaking during Prime Ministers questions in the House of Commons: AFP/Getty Images

Tim Farron has said that being gay is not a sin after he came under pressure to clarify his views.

The Liberal Democrat leader, who is an evangelical Christian, was pressed on the issue in the Commons today by Conservative MP Nigel Evans.

Mr Farron has been criticised by celebrities and fellow politicians for failing to properly answer questions about his position on homosexuality in the past.

The politician has made clear he supports equal marriage and LGBT rights but, challenged four times about his Christian beliefs by broadcaster Cathy Newman on Channel 4 News, did not say whether or not it was a sin.

He also came under fire from celebrities including Coronation Street actor Charlie Condou and ex-Great British Bake Off presenter Sue Perkins but insisted on Wednesday "my belief for equality runs through me like a stick of rock".

Mr Evans, MP for Ribble Valley, said: "A lot of his views will be asked about over the next seven weeks, and he was asked one question which he refused to give an answer to, and I'd be interested if he could today.

"Does he think that being gay is a sin?"

Mr Farron replied: "I do not.

"And I tell you what, I am very proud to have gone through the lobby behind him in the coalition government where the Liberal Democrats introduced gay marriage, equal marriage, and indeed did not go as far as it should have done in terms of recognising transgender rights."

He added there was still "much more to be done", highlighting the reported persecution of gay people in Chechnya.

Following an interview with Channel 4 News on Tuesday, Good Morning Britain co-host Piers Morgan asked ex-soap star Condou: "Tim Farron thinks you're a sinner?" to which he replied: "Or does he? He hasn't actually said.

"I think he should absolutely say what he means. His voting record is very strong on LGBT rights, certainly stronger than Theresa May's, so his actions perhaps speak louder, but I think he should perhaps stop sitting on the fence."

Presenter Sue Perkins posted on Twitter: "Tim Farron on C4 news failing to clarify his views on the gay community. 'We're all sinners'."

And Britain's Got Talent judge David Walliams wrote: "Tim Farron you are definitely a sinner for your continued intolerance and prejudice. Please try and join the rest of us in the year 2017."

Farron was speaking during a debate in the Commons today ahead of voting on a motion on Prime Minister Theresa May’s call for an early general election.

MPs voted overwhelmingly in favour, allowing Mrs May to trigger the poll on June 8.