Scots MP Jo Swinson is an early favourite to replace Tim Farron after the Lib Dem leader resigned.
Farron, who was returned as one of 12 Lib Dem MPs at last week’s election, announced his departure this evening.
He said could not carry on in the face of continuing questions over his Christian faith.
“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 said.
“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.
“To be a political leader - especially of a progressive, liberal party in 2017 - and to live as a committed Christian, to hold faithfully to the Bible’s teaching, has felt impossible for me.”
Farron was elected leader in 2015 following the resignation of Nick Clegg.
Party insiders are now tipping Swinson, who returned to the Commons after winning back the East Dunbartonshire constituency from the SNP, for the top job.
She formerly served as a minister during the Tory-Lib Dem coalition of 2010-2015.