Friday, December 13, 2019

Who will be the next Lib Dem leader and why has Jo Swinson quit? – The Sun

FOLLOWING the dramatic election results, Jo Swinson quit as leader of the Liberal Democrats after losing her seat in East Dunbartonshire.

But who is Jo Swinson, why did she quit, and who is going to replace her?

Who is Jo Swinson?

The 39-year-old is the former MP for East Dunbartonshire, and was once the 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.

A member of the Liberal Democrats since the age of 17, Swinson unsuccessfully stood for Parliament at the 2001 general election, but was elected in 2005.

Jo Swinson made history when she became the Lib Dem leader – being the first female and the youngest person ever to ever take the position.

She lost her seat at the 2015 general election to the SNP but won it back in 2017.

However – history has repeated itself – as Swinson lost her seat in the 2019 election to the SNP.

Why has she quit?

Ms Swinson failed to hold her seat in East Dunbartonshire in the 2019 election, losing by 149 votes to SNP's Amy Callaghan.

Just five months after becoming leader, she has failed to be re-elected as an MP, which is a major blow to the party.

As the election results were announced, the Lib Dems confirmed she would resign and a leadership election would be triggered in the New Year.

Only MPs are allowed to be leaders of the party – hence why Ms Swinson has resigned.

In an emotional address, she told crowds: "I still believe that we as a country can be warm and generous inclusive and open by working together with our nearest neighbours we can achieve so much more."

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, however, pumped her fists in the air after finding out the party's candidate Ms Callaghan had taken the seat.

Who will be the next Lib Dem leader?

Following the election blunder, the official leadership role in the Lib Dem party is currently vacant.

Former deputy leader Ed Davey and Sal Brinton will be acting leaders before formal elections begin in the new year.

Under the party's constitution, the leader must be an MP – so the Lib Dems have 11 potential candidates to choose from.

Here are some potential new leaders of the Liberal Democrats…

Sir Ed Davey

Mr Davey has been the deputy leader of the Lib Dems since 2019, after coming second in the most recent leadership race.

He was appointed joint acting leader following Jo Swinson's defeat in the general election.

As MP for Kingston and Surbiton, Mr Davey is eligible to run to be the Lib Dem's new leader.

Baroness Sal Brinton

Baroness Brinton became a peer in 2011 and has been the president of the Liberal Democrats since 2014.

She is currently acting leader with Mr Davey – but because the Baroness is not a member of the House of Commons, it is unlikely that the party will elect her to take Jo Swinson's place permanently.

She is a former Lib Dem Cambridgeshire county councillor and she unsuccessfully contested for South East Cambridgeshire in the 2001 and 1997 general elections, and Watford in 2005 and 2010.

Layla Moran

Layla Moran is the Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon – a position she has held in the 2019 general election.

She is the first MP of Palestinian descent to be elected into the Commons for any party, according to veteran pollster Sir John Curtice.

Wera Hobhouse

Wera Hobhouse has been the MP for Bath since 2015 – and is the Lib Dem spokesperson for Environment, Food, Climate Emergency and Transport.

In 2018, Ms Hobhouse brought a Private Member’s Bill backing the creation of an upskirting offence.

The German-born MP could be one of the 11 candidates to run for the Lib Dem leadership.

Jamie Stone

Jamie Stone was elected as a Lib Dem MP in 2017, representing Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross.

He held his seat with a 3.31 per cent majority in the 2019 general election.

He has been the party’s spokesman for defence since August 2019 and caused controversy in 2007 when he called the SNP “xenophobic” – something for which he later apologised.

Christine Jardine

Christine Jardine is the MP for Edinburgh West – and has been since 2017.

She is a former journalist, who worked for BBC Scotland and was the editor of the PA news agency in Scotland.

Despite being hotly tipped to stand in the last Lib Dem leadership race, she didn't enter the race.

Now Swinson has resigned, she may try to become the leader.

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