Jo Swinson says her constituents are proud she’s taking on Boris Johnson

Jo Swinson has given two major press interviews in the past two days – one to Scotland on Sunday talking about her fight to retain her East Dunbartonshire seat and one to The Times (£) which is more about what she and the Liberal Democrats offer nationally – an open hearted, open minded outward-looking liberal country.

In the Times piece, she talks about the unique Lib Dem offer:

The 39-year-old leader of the Liberal Democrats is from a different generation to Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn (16 years younger than the prime minister and 31 years younger than the Labour leader) with a baby and a five-year-old to juggle on the campaign trail while her husband is away on business. She brought a bubble machine and popcorn maker to the Lib Dems’ election launch. “I think I am quite different to the other leaders,” she says. “They’ve all got an outlook which is very much harking back to the past, whether that’s the 1870s or the 1970s, and I’m very focused on the future we build, one that is open-hearted, open-minded, outward-looking, internationalist and liberal.”

And she tackles the issue of this week, which has been attacks from Labour for not standing down in their favour:

For those still in the Labour Party, many are conflicted but ultimately they are standing on a platform to get the hard left and Jeremy Corbyn into No 10 . . . Labour is not a party of Remain.” As for the Brexit Party standing down candidates in Tory-held seats, she says: “It sends a very clear message to moderate One Nation Conservatives about where Boris Johnson is — he is at one with Nigel Farage and there are a lot of Conservative voters who are very unhappy at that.”

She also describes the challenges of returning to work as a minister after maternity leave.

In the Scotland on Sunday piece, she talked about how she was on the side of most people in her East Dunbartonshire seat:

“Both are live issues – and that’s different to 2017 when it was much more about the prospect of an indyref. Now, with where the Brexit process has got to, people are much more concerned about that.

“This is a constituency where around two-thirds of people voted to stay in the UK, and are around three-quarters voted to stay in the EU. It’s very clear that people in East Dunbartonshire want Scotland to stay in the UK and the UK to be in the EU. It’s only the Liberal Democrats that are standing up for that position.”

And when she’s going round the doors, her constituents like her new role as leader:

When I speak to people, they understand I now have this national role,” Swinson added. “In a sense, I think they’re quite proud their local MP is taking on Boris Johnson.”

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8 Comments

  • Yousuf Farah 17th Nov '19 - 4:25pm

    It’s very likely that she will lose her Westminster seat, the SNP seem hellbent on trying to get it back from her. To do with, I have no idea.

  • I listened to Jo’s LBC Iain Dale interview this morning. I thought she handled the questions really well.

  • Yousuf – She’ll hold her seat with a bigger majority. Nicholson, the SNP person who defeated her in 2015, is standing elsewhere. That says it all.

  • @Yousouf “It’s very likely that she will lose her Westminster seat.”
    Really? How do you know that Yousouf? Are you local to East Dunbartonshire? Do you have objective data about voting intentions there? Please share with us the basis of your analysis.

  • Yousuf Farah 17th Nov '19 - 11:45pm

    @RossMcL Well the SNP won it in the EU parliament elections this year, so that’s usually a good indicator that the people there might vote SNP again. The new SNP candidate there has already been campaigning in that area for some time now, the SNP have pulled a lot of their resources in trying to win it, like taking many activists from surrounding constituencies to help their East Dunbartonshire candidate. I didn’t say the SNP will win there, but they might, who knows.

  • Well Yousuf you started saying it was “very likely” the SNP would win ED, and now you’re saying: “they might. who knows.” In other words, you have no objective data or special knowledge about the seat. You’re just repeating SNP propaganda.
    We’re not complacent about any seat and are working extremely hard in ED as in all our held and target seats. But the polls show that our average vote share in Scotland has doubled since 2017, and that increase will be higher in our held and target seats. Higher than the SNP increase. And as Jo had a 5,000+ majority last time, I think we’re in decent shape to hold on, with a strong campaign – which is what we are fighting.

  • @Yousuf Farah – I’d say it was pretty unlikely. Yes, the SNP are hellbent on winning it back – but even then they realise their priority is to win the Tory seats in the NE. I’d be surprised if it did happen – more likely is that they will lose their Westminster leader when we win back Charles Kennedy’s seat.

  • And just reading the Scotsman article, I particularly liked this quote from the SNP candidate:

    “The longer answer is people in East Dunbartonshire are fed-up of having a fly-by-night, pop-up MP who only cares when there is an election on.”

    Yep, that’s why they ditched John Nicolson….

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