Carmichael rules himself out as leader after Farron’s resignation
Alistair Carmichael has ruled himself out as leader of the Liberal Democrats following the decision by Tim Farron to stand down.
Mr Farron resigned today claiming it was impossible for him to still be party leader while remaining loyal to his Christian faith.
During the general election campaign Mr Farron was repeatedly questioned by national journalists about his faith and his views on whether gay sex was a sin. Mr Farron had also faced questions over his views on abortion.
Lib Dem MPs so far touted to take over from Mr Farron are North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb, East Dunbartonshire MP Jo Swinson and former interim leader Vince Cable, who was re-elected to his old Twickenham seat in the election.
Mr Carmichael said he had no intention of throwing his hat in the ring.
“With a still young family, and living in the Northern Isles, it requires more juggling and more sacrifice than I would be prepared to do.”
He added he was not “massively surprised” that Mr Farron had decided to stand down.
“I know this has been a problem for Tim, but I’m surprised it has come as quickly as it has,” he said.
“It’s typical of the man that he has, in a difficult situation, put the party first.”
He added it was clear Mr Farron had concluded that the leadership was not something that he could carry out.
“Rather than stick in and struggle with it he’s decided to stand down, which will not have been an easy thing to do.
“If he’s not comfortable doing the job I think it was the right decision.”
Asked if he thought Mr Farron was hounded by the national press over his beliefs, Mr Carmichael said: “I think he was. Nobody else was faced with these questions with that frequency.
“As he said himself during the campaign, it’s not as if he was standing for pope. Nor was there anything in his voting or campaigning record which suggested he was prejudiced against members of the LGBT community.”