Tim Farron attacks Tory record on LGBT rights

Tim Farron has attacked the Conservative government's record on LGBT equality accusing it of "trailing behind on transgender rights."

The evangelical Christian leader of the Liberal Democrats criticised Cameron's government and called for the removal of gender indicators in documents such as passports. In an article for the Huffington Post he praised his own party's record on tackling the "problems trans and intersex people face".

Tim Farron became Lib Dem leader after a disastrous election campaign which left the party with only eight MPs.Reuters

"They are all too often marginalised, ignored and discriminated against," Farron wrote. "Gender identity clinics are chronically underfunded and trans women have been repeatedly put in all male prisons, which has had fatal consequences."

"Yet, on this issue – like so many others, we still seem to have a Conservative party which trails public opinion rather than stands fast on principle," he wrote. 

"Something as small as not having to choose whether to tick the male or female box on applications can make a huge difference."

Farron, who has repeatedly avoided answering whether he thinks gay sex is a sin, said the Conservatives have "stalled" on LGBT rights because they don't have "the firm, unwavering hand of the Liberal Democrats. "

"We are an open and liberal society, we should be a world leader on this issue, for trans children, non-binary adults and their families, but that will require work both in Parliament and outside it," he wrote.

"I believe the barriers are coming down and I and my party will be doing our bit to help them on their way but ultimately this is a group effort and will require more awareness raising initiatives like this to drive the change."

Farron abstained at the third reading of the same-sex marriage legislation alongside a number of other Lib Dem MPs, after previously voting for it.

He later said he regretted abstaining as it gave the impression he was opposed to same-sex marriage. He has since insisted he is a firm believer in marriage equality.

"I think you should have every right to love who you love, marry who you wish," he told Sky News shortly after being elected as Lib Dem leader.

"I believe and support equality under law, equal dignity and that includes people, whatever their sexuality. So, I'm a liberal to my fingertips."

He said after receiving criticism connected to his faith: "I am not the archbishop of Canterbury and I do not go around making religious or theological announcements."