Jo Swinson: Conservatives and Labour ‘going off to the extremes’

Jo Swinson considered running in 2017, but said now is the right time to be leader

Friday, May 31, 2019

Jo Swinson has announced her bid to become the next leader of the Liberal Democrats.

The party's current deputy leader told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer that British politics needed a strong alternative to the "extremes" of the Labour Party and Conservatives.

“Our politics needs this. People look at Labour and the Conservatives and sigh because they’re both going off to the extremes," she said.

Ms Swinson considered running for Lib Dem leader back in 2017, but decided to opt for the deputy role instead.

“It didn’t feel like the right thing for me to do, whereas now I feel this is absolutely the thing I’m driven to do," she explained.

The party is celebrating a recent poll, which suggested the Liberal Democrats were the most popular party.

The YouGov poll of 1,753 adults found 25 per cent would vote for the Lib Dems, followed by the Brexit Party on 22 per cent. The Conservatives and Labour were tied on 19 per cent.

Ms Swinson said the poll gave her “cause for optimism”.

She added: “It’s fair to say that poll certainly put a smile on my face and I was already smiling because of the EU election result."

“It’s a good time to be a Liberal Democrat. There’s a real energy and momentum and we need to take that forward and that’s why I’m running to be leader.”

The deputy leader has backed a second Brexit referendum.

“There is a rise in nationalist sentiment which is about pitting countries against each other and for me it’s about loving our country.”

“What we achieve by being part of the European Union... we have the heft of being part of 500 million people, we have more influence,” she said.

She will face Sir Ed Davey in a leadership vote after nominations close on June 7.

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