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Tim Farron says he is pro-choice as Lib Dem leader dismisses abortion claims

The row over abortion comes after Mr Farron became embroiled in controversy over his views over whether gay sex was a sin.

Tim Farron has dismissed claims he was against abortion after it emerged that he previously said the practice was “wrong”.

The Liberal Democrat leader said he is “pro-choice now and I was pro-choice then” when asked about an interview with a Salvation Army publication in 2007 in which he reportedly condemned the method of terminating a pregnancy.

Mr Farron told the magazine: “Take the issue of abortion. Personally I wish I could argue it away. Abortion is wrong.

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“Society has to climb down from the position that says there is nothing objectionable about abortion before a certain time. If abortion is wrong, it is wrong at any time.”

Commenting on his remarks, Mr Farron told the Press Association: “Looking back on them I may not have explained myself terribly well but I support safe and legal access to abortion.

“I may not have expressed myself terribly well 10 years ago but I was pro-choice then and I am pro-choice now.”

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Mr Farron, who is due to launch his party’s manifesto on Wednesday evening, spent the morning visiting Holland Park School in west London.

He took questions from pupils in an English class, and observed a music class where pupils sang The Beatles hit Here Comes The Sun as he arrived.

Mr Farron said the visit to the secondary school highlighted his manifesto’s central point of “hope for the future, particularly for young people, not just by giving us the option still to remain should the Brexit deal not be one that people like”.

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He added: “But it’s also about reminding us what Theresa May is about to do to our schools – and I say this as a dad myself – what she has done to our hospitals.

“Two out of three schools are going to lay off at least one teacher in the next eight weeks because of Theresa May’s budget cuts and so it’s important in providing that hope for the future we remind people of the rather dismal future that Theresa May is offering and the better one we are with a £7 billion investment in schools and further education.”

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During the visit, Mr Farron was asked by year eight pupil Johan Neske about his party’s pledge to legalise cannabis.

He told the class: “I’m not somebody who thinks drugs are a good thing and first of all the most damaging drug in our society is alcohol – the question is how do you minimise harm?”

Mr Farron said the drug was a “gateway to harder drugs”, and “if you brick up that gateway by making sure that people who are buying cannabis are only buying it from a regulated source then you take away the option to go into harder drugs”.

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