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Soon-to-quit Farron gives all Lib Dem MPs shadow cabinet post by outgoing leader

By Sam Lister

Outgoing Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has given all of his MPs a job in his frontbench team.

The party increased its number of parliamentary seats from nine to 12 in the general election, with some of its more well-known figures such as Sir Vince Cable and Jo Swinson returning.

Both are expected to fight for the party's top job after Mr Farron made the surprise announcement on Wednesday that he was standing down because he had been unable to reconcile his Christian faith with the demands of leading a "progressive, liberal" party.

In Mr Farron's top team, Ms Swinson becomes the foreign affairs spokeswoman while Sir Vince takes on the treasury brief.

Tom Brake will speak on Brexit and international; Ed Davey on home affairs; Norman Lamb on health; and Alistair Carmichael on Northern Ireland in addition to his duties as chief whip. New MPs Layla Moran, Wera Hobhouse, Christine Jardine and Jamie Stone will speak on education, communities, culture and Scotland respectively.

Stephen Lloyd, who returns after losing his seat in 2015, becomes the party's work and pensions spokesman.

Mr Farron said: "I am delighted to announce our new shadow cabinet team, which brings together a wealth of experience.

"The party has people with a range of skills from within government, business and the charity sector.

"Together we will provide the strong Opposition Britain needs to stand up to this Conservative government."

Mr Farron announced he was standing down as leader this week, saying he had been unable to reconcile his Christian faith with the demands of leading the party.

He faced intense criticism during the election campaign for failing to answer questions about his position on homosexuality.

While he made it clear he supported equal marriage and LGBT rights, he initially refused to say whether he thought gay sex was a sin, eventually saying he did not only after days of pressure.

In a statement announcing his resignation, he said his faith had made him a "subject of suspicion" in a way which showed "we are kidding ourselves if we think we yet live in a tolerant, liberal society".

Belfast Telegraph


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