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Is gay sex a sin? Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron loses thousands of votes

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has lost his 8,000 majority.

In a shock result, the Cumbria MP, who has been embroiled in controversy for his views on gay sex, almost lost to the Conservative Party.

Farron received 23,686 votes, while the Conservative Party candidate, James Airey, received 22,909 votes.

He has served as the MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale since 2005, winning with a majority of almost 8,949 just two years ago.

His predecessor as Lib Dem leader, a strong supporter of same-sex marriage, lost his seat to Labour.

The Lib Dem leader had been embroiled in controversy during the snap election about his views over gay sex.

He had refused to say whether he believes gay sex is a sin since being elected leader in 2015.

He eventually answered the question during a turbulent general election campaign.

In an interview with Channel 4 at the start of the election, Mr Farron was asked with gay sex was sinful – and refused to answer the question, insisting he would not “spend my time talking theology”.

He since dodged repeated questions on the issue in interviews with LBC and ITV’s Robert Peston, while he was also challenged on the issue in Parliament.

In an interview with the BBC during the campaign, Mr Farron finally answered the question, explaining that he doesn’t think gay sex is sinful.

Mr Farron said: “I don’t believe gay sex is a sin. I take the view that as a political leader, my job is not to pontificate on theological matters but this has become a talking point, an issue – and in that case, if people have got the wrong opinion of what I think of those issues, it’s right to correct it.

“Asked why his answer had changed, he said: “I’m quite careful about how I talk about my faith…

“I don’t bang on about it, but I don’t make a secret of it either.

“When I get asked theological questions, which I don’t think many other politicians do get asked, I took the view that it would be better for me to say this is a matter of theological nitpicking, and let’s talk about the politics.”

He added: “It’s really important I answer it clearly today, and say, it’s not [a sin]. I don’t feel it is.”

Asked about his previous evasiveness, he said: “I didn’t want to get into a series of questions unpicking the Bible. What I want is to make sure we deal with something that’s become an issue.

“I think that’s something that’s important to say when they get the wrong idea of you.”

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