Archbishop of York: Tim Farron's 'tormentors' should be 'ashamed of themselves'

The Archbishop of York has said Tim Farron's 'tormentors' who questioned him repeatedly about gay sex should be 'ashamed of themselves'.

The Lib Dem leader triggered a row about faith and politics after resigning saying it felt 'impossible' to live as a 'committed Christian, hold faithfully to the Bible's teachings' and be in his role.

Harry FarleyThe Archbishop of York John Sentamu is the Church of England's second most senior leader

'The consequences of the focus on my faith is that I have found myself torn between living as a faithful Christian and serving as a political leader,' he told party activists after being repeatedly asked about his private views on gay sex and abortion as an evangelical.

'In which case we are kidding ourselves if we think we yet live in a tolerant, liberal society.'

John Sentamu said the 'pre-election hounding of Tim Farron was not acceptable'.

Writing in the Telegraph he said: 'In interview after interview we were given the impression that his private views on gay sex were in the forefront of the Lib Dem campaign.

'His tormentors should be ashamed of themselves. It is much to be regretted that he has now concluded that a leading role in politics is incompatible with his Christian faith.'

Sentamu, as the Church of England's number two after the Archbishop of Canterbury, also defended religion's role in politics, denying there should be a separation.

He said those would 'sever' ties between faith and politics are 'relegating their Creator to the spectator's gallery'.

He wrote: 'Justice is only possible when law, religion and morals are intermingled. Religion concerns the spirit in humanity, whereby we are able to recognise what is truth and what is justice; whereas law is only the application, often imperfectly, of truth and justice in our everyday affairs.'

Quoting the senior judge Lord Denning in 1989 he added: 'If religion perishes in the land, truth and justice will also. We have already strayed too far from the faith of our forebears. Let us return to it for it is the only thing that can save us.'