And our new leader is…….Jo Swinson


Turnout 72% which equals the Huhne vs Campbell vs Hughes contest in 2006.

In her first speech as leader, Jo said that she was a candidate for Prime Minister:

It feels like our liberal values are under attack.

We champion freedom – but Brexit will mean the next generation is less free to live, work and love across Europe.

We value openness – but Britain is in retreat, pulling up the drawbridge.

We cherish equality, so that every individual can thrive: whoever they are, whatever their background, however they worship. But this is threatened too – that shocking picture of those gay women, bloodied, attacked on a bus. And the rise in Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, in the heart of British politics.

Of course this is not confined to the UK.

Trump’s attack last week on four members of Congress, all women of colour, started with him deploying the textbook racist ‘go home’ message. By the end of the week, we saw thousands of people whipped into fervour at a rally, chanting “Send her back”.

Simply sickening, chilling. Echoes of a history we must not repeat.

Ilhan Omar is a strong woman. She will not be cowed. But my heart breaks: for every immigrant who feels less safe, for every little girl of colour who feels afraid, for every person who feels less welcome in their own country.

And I rage when Boris Johnson is more interested in sucking up to Donald Trump, than standing up for British values of decency, equality, and respect.

Tomorrow, we expect Boris Johnson will take the keys to Number 10 – but he has shown time and time again that he isn’t fit to be Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson has only ever cared about Boris Johnson. Just ask Sir Kim Darroch or Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

Whether it is throwing people under the bus or writing a lie on the side of one: Britain deserves better than Boris Johnson.

And as for Corbyn’s Labour, I’ll make this quick. Any party that can’t decide where it stands on the biggest issue facing our country in generations, doesn’t deserve my time, and doesn’t deserve your vote.

We need a Prime Minister who will rise to the challenges we face, not hide away from them.
So I stand before you today, not as just as the leader of the Liberal Democrats, but as a candidate for Prime Minister.

There is no limit to my ambition for our party and for our movement.

I am ready to take our party into a general election and win it.

Jane Dodds, Welsh Lib Dem leader, congratulated Jo:

I’m thrilled to see Jo Swinson elected as our new Liberal Democrat leader. Jo is the right person to lead our party and our growing liberal movement through these turbulent and dangerous times.

Jo Swinson has long been a friend of the Welsh Liberal Democrats and of Wales. I look forward to working with Jo to fight injustice, rebuild our broken social safety net and build a thriving Welsh green economy.

As he hands over power, I’d like to pay tribute to Vince Cable’s leadership of this great party. Vince has ensured we’ve led the campaign to stop Brexit whilst reshaping this party into an electoral force once again and returning us to the forefront of British politics.

Jo will lead the country away from populism and nationalism, said Scottish Leader, Willie Rennie:

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.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

Read more by or more about , or .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Paul Barker 22nd Jul '19 - 4:27pm

    That was the longest 7 minutes of my life…….

  • Paul Barker 22nd Jul '19 - 4:35pm

    And 101 Days to stop Brexit…..

  • Bill le Breton 22nd Jul '19 - 4:48pm

    Stunning acceptance speech – simply stunning.
    Listen in full if you haven’t had the chance to hear it live.

  • Enjoy the day, the hard work starts tomorrow. O remember nice seldom wins and it won’t win against this set of delusionists.

  • Brilliant, what a speech. Who wrote it , credit where credit is due.
    Now for Gloucester on Thursday & Brecon next week. I noticed last week that a couple of the Change/independent MPs said they were waiting to see who would be the leader. Maybe we could have an extra one or two MPs later this week from that source.

  • Mick Taylor 22nd Jul '19 - 5:04pm

    The election is over. Now we must all back our new leader 110%.

  • Paul Barker 22nd Jul '19 - 5:13pm

    Now we have to get Jo into Number 10, for that we need around 35%, about double what we are getting now. We will stand a much better chance if we can build a Progressive, Remain Alliance.

  • John Barrett 22nd Jul '19 - 5:17pm

    Well done. Great speech.

  • Barry Lofty 22nd Jul '19 - 5:21pm

    Congratulations Jo and best wishes for the future and thanks Vince for renewing the fortunes of the Lib Dems.

  • Bernard Aris 22nd Jul '19 - 5:22pm

    I’m absolutely exhilarated by this LibDems leaderships hustings with both
    *) civility, mutual respect, and

    I totally support Jo’s attacks of Farage insouciant, uncaring stepping over a dead body, and about het double barreled “Bus” attack on Boris.

    At this time let’s thank BOTH leaders who have led us out of the 2015 doldrums:
    *) Tim Farron, who harvested and mobilised the goodwill of Nick Cleggs masterful resignatiion speach at the end of a horrible election night; and who started our “Second Referendum” campaign right after the 2016 Referendum; and who got our spectacular rises in memnbership going;
    *) and Vince “Stalin to Pinocchio” Cable, who put economic flesh on our anti-Brexit bones, wrote some very interesting books while leader (and in his 2015-’17 exile from the Commons), and who ended his leadership with our unbelievable May 2019 results; an electoral bang that will resonate in British Liberal and European history (helping get Von Der Leyen confirmed on a green, socially conscious, democratizing program).

  • John Marriott 22nd Jul '19 - 5:25pm

    A polished performance from Ms Swinson, spoiled only for me by the ‘screamers’ in the audience.

    The challenge ahead is clear, starting with the headline on the BBC News website “Who is Jo Swinson?”. I think that ‘frankie ‘ might be right when he says that nice seldom wins. Preaching to the converted is one thing. She has got one heck of a lot of cynicism to combat; but she might just do it. I really do wish her the best of luck.

  • Stonking speech, that. Big congratulations to Jo & team, and to Ed & team for a good-natured campaign well-fought too.

  • Well I certainly clicked the Like button for that speech. Well done Jo and thank you to Ed.

  • It was a good speech, but my feeling was that it was designed to shore up our core support (and nothing intrinsically wrong with that). Although we are doing well in the polls now, party strategists must be aware that once Brexit is done (and hence we cease to be the repository of second referendum supporters votes) were might just slip down to low teens in the polls, especially if Labour get their act together. So the first job is to make sure that we can rely on 20%+ in an election (and hopefully 35-50 seats). That could make things very interesting if there is horse trading to be done after the next election.
    My second impression was that, unsurprisingly, it was a bit short on detail. How, exactly do we build an economy that works for everyone ? Not sure what there was in there that would make a Honda worker in Swindon flock to us. My fear is that those kinds of people aren’t really at the front of our minds.

  • Martin it was carried live on BBC24news channel.
    I agree with everyone who is praising the speech. Very good stuff, and I like the fact that she was clearly emotional at the start – shows her as a human being.
    I would suggest all local parties should be calling on ex-members and known supporters over the next few days, with membership forms. (That’s if you’re not in Brecon!)
    I voted for Jo myself in the end, but it was a really hard decision, and to be honest I’m now wishing the result had been a bit closer. I’ve just sent a tweet to Ed telling him that, and also telling him he is a giant in the party and makes me proud to be a Liberal Democrat.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 22nd Jul '19 - 6:50pm

    @martin: The link was in the article and the speech was playing live within it.

    It was announced on both Facebook and Twitter.

  • Charles Pragnell 22nd Jul '19 - 7:05pm

    Congratulations to Jo on your win on a 72 percent turn out. Ed as ever gracious in defeat. Plenty of coverage on Five live, and a great speech . With in forty minutes of her election, Ian Livery chair of Labour is on the attack, and the NATS are sniping up North. Cages are being rattled . Great coverage in Scotland from the BBC correspondent Brian Taylor, and some encouraging noises from Sir John Curtus.
    This could be a interesting week, could we see defections, mass Tory resignations, and then on the morning of August 2nd Jane Dodds wins in Wales.

  • David Allen 22nd Jul '19 - 7:08pm

    I voted for Jo, but I was very impressed by Ed as well. In the short term, we must concentrate on getting wider recognition for our new leader. In the longer term, we need to see an effective leadership team – with Ed, as well as others, given whatever prominence we can persuade the media to give us.

    Time and again, we are dismissed as being too small to govern. Yes, we are small. But we are not a bunch of raving incompetents, and the two “major” party leadership teams largely are. We could not easily keep government afloat. But Boris will surely sink disastrously, and Corbyn would also sink. If we play things right, we may convince the voters of these facts!

  • Lorenzo Cherin 22nd Jul '19 - 7:14pm

    A victory for Jo and all of us who campaigned for , and supported her, yet surely, for all our members , in having a new, younger, leader, the first woman leading our party in the role of federal party leader, congratulations to her and Sir Ed, on a fine and decent contest!

  • Agree pretty much with previous comments, thought it was pretty stirring from Jo and uplifting, though at same time need to be realistic going forward and target areas where the party has the best chances. Obviously focus is on Brexit but public need to be clear where we stand on other areas (even if some overlap). Whilst energy needs to go on tryiing to stop brexit and particularly a disastarous one (though all damaging) may not suceed and then will need plan for next approach. As far as any Alliances in practice not so straighforward (though would obviously be possible in some cases) and Government of National Unity (more Ed’s idea) OI think somewhat remote even if would be beneficial.

    At start of campaign thought likely would vote for Jo but I did consider Ed and thought he was better on detail. However in the end thought Jo swinson probably better in media and reaching out beyond traditional base compared to Ed Davey and in terms of image would be a different look . Felt both could have been effective (know Davey’s backers stressed his experience and campaigning) But Jo has strong credentails too and a youth at times has advantages. Having an qualified female leader when previously men dominated the parliamentary party is a move forward, though obviously more to be done on diversity (recent Euro Elections though was fairly positive in this regard)

  • I’m glad to see that we’re going forward with new energy, strength, and purpose. The old way of things is crumbling and can no longer be shored up. We need to be fearless in casting it aside, and being ready to fight on a new battlefield.

    Jo Swinson may become the Liberal Democrats greatest leader. But she can’t do it alone. She needs every liberal, in and out of the Party, to stand with her and do their parts.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

This post has pre moderation enabled, please be patient whilst waiting for it to be manually reviewed. Liberal Democrat Voice is made up of volunteers who keep the site running in their free time.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • George Thomas
    Didn't the Tories (as part of coalition) cut top rate of tax from 50% to 45% during middle of need to raise money/in wider world of economic crisis? Coalition o...
  • Steven
    I agree Jason Connor. Those electors who want PR can't really trust Labour to deliver upon it. I would want a manifesto pledge to be written in blood before I b...
  • Steven
    On the United Kingdom mainland only Scotland's Holyrood and the London Assembly can be described as being described as being proper, full examples of Proportion...
  • Steven
    Unfortunately, FPTP single member constituencies produce such huge levels of disproportionality of election results that in mixed PR AMS systems you need to hav...
  • Jason Connor
    I don't understand why people are so easily taken in by the Labour party on electoral reform. They want power at any cost and would only remotely consider it if...