Jo Swinson "will take the party to greater heights"
22 July 2019, 17:40
East Dunbartonshire MP Jo Swinson will take the Liberal Democrats to to "greater heights" after being newly elected to head the party, the Scottish Liberal Democrat leader said.
Deputy leader, Ms Swinson won beat rival Sir Ed Davey to win the leadership contest by 47,997 to 28,021.
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: "Jo Swinson is the fresh, positive new leader who will take the Liberal Democrats to
greater heights by reaching out to new groups of voters and building on the success of recent elections.
"Jo provides a stark contrast between the indecisive Jeremy Corbyn and chaotic Boris Johnson and will lead the country away from the
forces of populism and nationalism.
"Jo is not tribal and will work with others to stop Brexit, stop independence and build a country that is richer, cleaner and greener."
The SNP congratulated the party's first female leader on her victory, but called on her to rule out any future pacts with the Conservatives
and "apologise" for cuts made under the previous Lib Dem-Tory coalition.
SNP MP Mhairi Black said: "Jo Swinson was one of the most enthusiastic cheerleaders for the Tory coalition government.
"She must move quickly to apologise for the devastating cuts she imposed, and rule out any future Tory pact - if she wants anyone to
believe the Lib Dems have changed their ways.
"People haven't forgotten that it was the Lib Dems who trebled university tuition fees to £9,000 a year, scrapped the Education Maintenance
Allowance, introduced the bedroom tax, imposed the cap on public sector pay, and the damaging cuts to social security for disabled people.
"While the SNP has consistently opposed Tory cuts, the Lib Dems enabled the worst of them - pushing millions of people into poverty and
inequality, and forcing families to rely on food banks and emergency aid to feed their children."
Ms Swinson's Lib Dem election victory sees her move up from deputy leader to replace Sir Vince Cable at the top of the party.
The MP for East Dunbartonshire was first elected to Parliament aged 25 in 2005.
She was not only the youngest MP at the time, the "baby of the House", but also the first to be born in the 1980s.
She served as a minister in the coalition Government but was among the party's MPs who paid the price for the tie-up with David Cameron's
Conservatives in the 2015 election bloodbath which saw the Lib Dems reduced to a rump of just eight in the Commons.
Ms Swinson fought back, regaining her East Dunbartonshire seat in 2017 from the SNP.
Now 39, Ms Swinson also became the first MP to take her baby into a Commons debate when she took her second son Gabriel into a
discussion on proxy voting in September 2018.
After former Lib Dem leader Tim Farron stood down in 2017, Ms Swinson was named as one of the possible contenders but successfully ran
for deputy leader instead.
Ms Swinson married former Lib Dem MP Duncan Hames, who lost his seat at the 2015 general election, in 2011.
She was made a CBE for political and public service and has has also written a book, Equal Power.
She comfortably defeated Sir Ed Davey to become the Lib Dems' first female leader, winning with a majority of almost 20,000 votes.