Religion and coalition help round off the Lib Dem leadership campaign interviews

Tim Farron and Norman Lamb
Two final interviews to round off the Lib Dem leadership race, both with The Spectator.

Tim Farron:

Farron has undergone much scrutiny for his religious views and voting record on same-sex marriage and abortion. Given this, does he see any contradiction in having strong Christian values and leading a liberal party?

‘We wouldn’t be a Liberal party if we thought that somebody couldn’t be in it, couldn’t lead it,’ he says. ‘I think when Charles Kennedy was leader, he was Roman Catholic and throughout his time he managed to get the balance right.’

‘Christianity, faith in general, isn’t an entirely private thing but you have no right, I believe I have no right as a Liberal, to impose my faith on others and Charles was a great example of how you don’t ram things down people’s throats’.

Norman Lamb:

Lamb is not a slavish defender of the Lib Dem’s role in coalition. He argues that the party was not ‘nearly clear enough at the start that this was a sort of businesslike, professional relationship. We were acting in the national interest but these were two very different parties’. He admits that the Tories ‘played the game more effectively than we did’ and his party resorted to ‘a sort of technocratic language’. ‘I don’t think people began to have any idea of some of the big things that we achieved,’ he says.

So would Lamb go into coalition again, either with the Tories or Labour? He says it would be madness to rule it out, ‘my mission has to be making a difference to people’s lives, and you only do that by securing power. Securing power to disperse power, and to apply liberal values’.


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