Tim Farron resigns as leader of Liberal Democrats

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The party gained four seats from the eight it won in 2015, though several MPs lost their seats, including the former party leader Nick Clegg and Richmond Park byelection victor Sarah Olney.

From the very first day of my leadership, I have faced questions about my Christian faith.

However, the party created one of the surprises in last week's snap election, increasing their number of MPs from nine to 12, after campaigning for a second referendum on the terms of Brexit.

Mr Clegg said on Twitter: "This must have been an agonising decision given Tim's lifelong dedication to the Liberal Democrats".

In his speech on Wednesday, Mr Farron said the continued questions over his faith showed "we are kidding ourselves" if people thought Britain was a "tolerant, liberal society".

In a statement, he said he was "torn between living as a faithful Christian and serving as a political leader".

Farron came under pressure on the campaign trail when he refused to directly answer if he believed being gay is a sin.

"I'm a liberal to my finger tips, and that liberalism means that I am passionate about defending the rights and liberties of people who believe different things to me", he said.

The Lib Dem peer, formerly the Metropolitan police's deputy assistant commissioner and the UK's most senior gay police officer, has stood as the party's mayoral candidate in past elections.

Even so, I seem to be the subject of suspicion because of what I believe and who my faith is in.

At the start of this election, I found myself under scrutiny again - asked about matters to do with my faith. Among possible replacements are Vince Cable and Jo Swinson, both former ministers who have reclaimed their former seats.

Mr Farron will serve until the parliamentary recess begins next month, when there will be a party leadership election. He inherited a party whose image was tainted from its five years in a 2010 coalition government with the Tories.

The party hopes to appoint a deputy leader after a hustings on 27 June, presided over by the Lords chief whip, Ben Stoneham.

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