Who is Jo Swinson? Will she be the next leader of the Liberal Democrats?

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JO Swinson has said she will stand to become the next leader of the Liberal Democrats.

The deputy leader of the party made the announcement on BBC Question Time. Here’s what you need to know about her.

Jo Swinson has said a vote for the Lib Dems is a vote to stop Brexit
Rex Features

Who is Jo Swinson?

The 39-year-old is MP for East Dunbartonshire and a former equalities minister in the Coalition government.

She was born in the west coast of Scotland and was educated at a comprehensive before studying at the London School of Economics.

After graduating with a first class degree in Management she worked for a radio station in Hull.

A member of the Liberal Democrats since the age of 17, she unsuccessfully stood for Parliament at the 2001 General Election before being elected in 2005.
At the time she was the youngest MP in the House of Commons and went on to become a junior employment minister in David Cameron’s government.

She was one of 28 Lib Dem MPs who voted for tuition fees and lost her seat at the 2015 general election to the SNP but won it back in 2017.

Swinson is currently her party’s Spokesperson for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

She is a staunch supporter of a second referendum on EU membership and has said: “Every Liberal Democrat vote is a vote to stop Brexit.”

Will she be the next leader of the Liberal Democrats?

Current party leader Sir Vince Cable Cable will step down on 23 July and nominations to replace him close on 7 June.

Swinson faces competition from former Energy Secretary Sir Ed Davey, who has declared his intention to stand.

Lib Dem leadership candidates must be an MP supported by at least 200 members spread across at least 20 different local parties.

They must also have the backing of 10 per cent of the parliamentary party, which currently stands at 11 MPs.

Lib Dem members will then have the final say on who becomes leader.


She said “this country is crying out for a liberal movement that will challenge the forces of nationalism and populism”.

“The Liberal Democrats need to be at the heart of that movement and I’m the person to lead it,” the MP added.

A YouGov poll which asked voters what party they would back if a general election was held now was topped by the Lib Dems on 24 per cent, ahead of the Brexit Party on 22 per cent.

The MP served in the coalition government and voted to raise tuition fees
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