Theos is excited to announce that former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron MP will giving this years’ annual lecture, on Tuesday 28th November 2017.
Farron’s lecture will address the idea of tolerance and liberalism in modern British politics. He will reflect on the changing discourse around political and social liberalism in post–Brexit Britain, and whether we are truly tolerant of other beliefs.In his lecture, he will say that there is “no unifying set of British values. It’s a myth.”
“People talk about shared values today. But when they do, what they mean is ‘these are my values – and I am going to act as though they are also yours, and will demonstrate contempt for you if you depart from them”.
Farron is expected to argue that given this diversity, ‘real’ liberalism is the only way to hold societies together.
He expresses fears that in its current state “Liberalism has eaten itself because it has eaten the very world view that gave birth to it, that made it possible, and which makes it possible”.
He is expected t o say that Christianity, and faith itself, lies at the core of liberal values, and that to “relegate Christianity is to hollow out liberalism”.
His speech will also look at the challenges that modern political liberalism faces today, a time where, he says “to challenge an identity is to commit a personal assault.”
“If you actively hold a faith that is more than an expression of cultural identity… you are deemed to be far worse than eccentric. You are dangerous. You are offensive”.
Farron has been an MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale since 2005, and was elected as the Liberal Democrat leader following the 2015 election.
He stepped down from the position after the 2017 General Election, following intense media scrutiny of his personal religious beliefs during the campaign. Upon his resignation, he said: “To be a political leader and to live as a committed Christian, to hold faithfully to the Bible’s teaching, has felt impossible for me.“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.”
“A better, wiser person than me may have been able to deal with this more successfully, to have remained faithful to Christ while leading a political party in the current environment.”
Theos is the UK’s leading religion and society think tank.
Launched in 2006, Theos aims to impact opinion around issues of faith and belief in society through research, publications, media engagement and events.
The Annual lecture is a highlight of the Theos calendar. Previous annual lectures have been given by Literary critic Terry Eagleton, the Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and the former chair of the European Human Rights Commission Onora O’Neill.
This event is fully booked, but Theos has reserved some places for members of the press to attend. To reserve your place or to schedule interviews with Tim Farron, please contact Theos press manager Hussein Kesvani, on 07814093457 or at
This event will be live streamed on Facebook, and audio/video of the event will be on the Theos website.