Jo Swinson 'over the moon' to be elected as new Liberal Democrat leader

Jo SwinsonGetty

  • Jo Swinson beats Ed Davey in the race to succeed Vince Cable as Liberal Democrats leader.
  • Swinson, the MP for East Dunbartonshire, beating Ed Davey to secure the nomination.
  • The anti-Brexit party is experiencing a surge in support, buoyed by Remain voters who are disillusioned with the Labour Party's message on Brexit.

LONDON - Jo Swinson has been elected as the new leader of the Liberal Democrats.

The results of the leadership contest were announced on Monday afternoon with Swinson, the MP for East Dunbartonshire, comfortably beating Ed Davey by 47,997 votes to 28,021 to secure the nomination.

Swinson said she was "delighted, honoured and over the moon, to stand before you as the leader of the Liberal Democrats."

She added: "Liberalism is alive and thriving. In the face of nationalism, populism, the catastrophe of Brexit, the two old parties have failed.

"Our party has been clear on Brexit from Day One. We believe the UK's best future is as members of the European Union. That's why, as your leader, I will do whatever it takes to Stop Brexit."

She will replace outgoing leader Sir Vince Cable at a time when the party, which has 12 MPs in parliament, is experiencing a surge of support from Remain voters, many of whom have abandoned support for the Labour Party.

The Liberal Democrats placed second in May's European elections, ahead of both the governing Conservative Party Labour, and are currently polling on as much as 20%.

Swinson was first elected to the House of Commons in 2005, and was Westminster's youngest MP - the "Baby of the House" - until 2009.

When the Lib Dems went into Coalition with ex-prime minister David Cameron's Conservatives, she served as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the business department, before later become a junior equalities minister.

She has played a major role in the anti-Brexit movement and is a leading supporter of the People's Vote campaign for a new referendum on whether the UK should leave the European Union.

Swinson has emphasised the importance of leading a new liberal movement, not just a single party.

Last month she told Business Insider that she was not a "tribal politician" and was best-placed to win "new voters across generations" and across "traditional party lines," as well as more MPs from other parties.

"I was down at the Donald Trump protest last week and several people came up to me and said they had joined the Lib Dems as a result of seeing me on Question Time," she told Business Insider. "It is working."

Anti-Brexit campaigners welcomed Swinson's victory.

"We welcome the new leader of the Liberal Democrats, Jo Swinson," Best for Britain CEO Naomi Smith said.

"She has already pledged to work with other parties to ensure a Remain Alliance against Boris Johnson's new government is built, taking our work in Brecon and Radnorshire to the rest of the country.

"Stopping Brexit will require the focus and energy of the country's biggest and boldest politicians. Jo is absolutely one of them, and we look forward to working with her even more closely in the future to stop Brexit."
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