Lib Dem leader Tim Farron under renewed fire from leading pro-life group for U-turn on abortion
17 May 2017
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has come under fire from the world’s longest established pro-life organisation after he caved in to pressure to declare himself “pro-choice”.
He has staged a spectacular u-turn after being confronted with a Salvation Army interview in which he stated “abortion is wrong”.
When details were revealed Lib Dem spin doctors moved in swiftly and issued a statement claiming Farron - who claims to be a Christian - has changed his mind, is now pro-choice and does not want the law on abortion to change.
But he has come in for fierce criticism from The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) which was formed in 1967 - the same year as the Abortion Act was passed.
SPUC’s Campaign Director Antonia Tully said:
“Tim Farron may be changing his mind about abortion, but the grim reality of abortion isn't changing. Each and every week 4000 unborn babies are killed in Britain and their mothers carry the emotional scars, often for life.
“Abortion is the No. 1 human rights scandal of our time and the political elite in this country continually turn a blind eye to it. But ordinary people care about this issue and SPUC is encouraging them to make the plight of unborn children a voting priority. SPUC is reaching out to caring citizens in Britain who will not betray unborn children and their mothers at the ballot box.
“We've sent out thousands of "value your vote" leaflets to our volunteers who will be distributing them in their neighbourhood.”
SPUC say the abortion issue which focuses the minds of a large number of people.
Mrs Tully continued:
“It should not be treated as a negotiable or trivial issue which can be dismissed or played with for political gain.
“Those seeking election should be aware of pressures from liberal-minded metropolitan elitists who try to force them under to have the 'right' opinion.
“They would be better advised to stand up for fundamental justice issues like the right of unborn babies.”
In the recently revealed interview with Salvation Army publication WarCry, Farron stated unequivocally:
“Take the issue of abortion. Personally I wish I could argue it away.
'Abortion is wrong. Society has to climb down from the position that says there is nothing objectionable about abortion before a certain time.
'If abortion is wrong, it is wrong at any time.'
In 2015 Mr Farron said he had not “ever read or seen” the publication that carried his controversial quotes.
But presented with a hard copy of the magazine by the Guardian, he said: “I am pro-choice. I believe that abortion should be safe and legal and that the limit should be set by science.”
A Liberal Democrat source told PoliticsHome: "He spoke to experts, looked at the evidence and changed his mind."
When elected to the House of Commons SPUC first revealed that Farron had said:
“Abortion is wrong. Society has to climb down from the position that says there is nothing morally objectionable about abortion before a certain time. If abortion is wrong, it is wrong at any time.”
But when the party was asked for his views in April they stated:
“Tim supports a woman’s right to an abortion. He will defend the existing law.”
Mrs Tully said:
"This kind of opportunism demonstrates the worst face of politics. Mr Farron is betraying unborn babies for political expediency. He fails to think the law should protect the most vulnerable from lethally unjust treatment even though he appears to know (or have known) that they are indeed being treated in a very immoral way.
"MPs should really show some backbone when they are pressed on crucial issues.
"Their views on life issues are important to many voters in this election, and SPUC activists will be quizzing candidates on their positions.
"MPs need to be brave – not railroaded by pressure from the media or liberal elites."
Notes to editors:
Antonia Tully can be contacted on: