By Lawrence Able
Editor’s note: This is an opinion piece and views expressed in this article are not necessarily reflective of The Beehive or The Beehive’s associated writers.
Tim Farron, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, has announced that he will resign. In a statement, he has said that his leadership has left him “torn between living as a faithful Christian and serving as a political leader”. He also claimed that during the election questions relating to his religious views had obscured the Liberal Democrat’s campaign.
He also stated that he was ‘a liberal to his fingertips’ and that the fact that he could not be a faithful Christian and the leader of a progressive liberal party was evidence that in 2017 Britain was not yet a ‘tolerant liberal society’.
Speculation has already begun on the potential successors to Mr Farron including Norman Lamb, who was defeated in the leadership contest by Tim Farron two years ago, the former business secretary under the coalition government Vince Cable, and ex-minister Jo Swinson.
This comes as the latest blow to a party, which having gained 3 seats in the parliamentary election, also lost 0.5% of its vote share and its former leader Nick Clegg in his Sheffield Hallam constituency. It also lost its last seat in Wales and 375 candidates lost their deposits after receiving less than 5% of the vote in their constituencies.
The Liberal Democrats woes suggest a return to the two-party system and a move back away from multi-party politics. It is difficult to see now how any party could launch a serious challenge to the power of the Conservatives and Labour. However, as seen with the conservatives likely to form a minority government, the two largest parties may still have to rely on the support of minority parties to form a functional government.