POLITICS
31/05/2019 10:48 BST | Updated 31/05/2019 17:09 BST

Jo Swinson Joins Race To Become Next Lib Dem Leader

She made headlines as the first MP to bring her baby to a House of Commons debate.

Jo Swinson has joined the race to become the next leader of the Lib Dems.

The East Dunbartonshire MP – who is currently the party’s deputy leader – revealed on Thursday that she was standing to replace current leader Vince Cable when he steps down in July.

“I happen to think that this country is crying out for a liberal movement that will challenge the forces of nationalism and populism,” she told BBC’s Question Time. “The Liberal Democrats need to be at the heart of that movement, and I’m the person to lead it.” 

Swinson has been at the centre of campaigns to modernise parliament for new parents. 

Not only was she among those who called for proxy voting after the Tory Party allegedly broke a pairing agreement while she was on maternity leave, but the 39-year-old became the first MP to take their baby into a debate in the House of Commons

Parliament TV
Jo Swinson with her baby in the House of Commons 

Swinson’s announcement follows a resounding victory for the party in the European elections.

Not only did the Lib Dems win 15 seats in European parliament, but they bagged 20.3% of the vote share, coming second only to Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party.

Meanwhile, a YouGov poll published on Friday suggested that the Lib Dems would win a general election if it was held tomorrow. The survey had the Lib Dems on 24% ahead of the Brexit Party on 22%, with Labour and the Conservatives both trailing on 19%.

Speaking to Radio 4’s Today programme, Swinson said there was “clearly an appetite for the liberal values we stand for”.

But asked whether she would consider putting the party into coalition again after the Cameron-Clegg government, she said it would not be possible to work with Labour or the Tories “as they exist currently”.

“But in general, yes… you only achieve things in politics when you work with other people,” she said, calling the campaign to stop Brexit “a great example”.

“We are working with people from all different parties to drive forward that campaign to stop Brexit,” Swinson added.

The MP – who first joined parliament in 2005 – faces competition for the top job from Ed Davey, who served as energy secretary during the coalition.

PA Wire/PA Images
Lib Dem deputy leader Jo Swinson