Jo’s ITV interview – the highlights

Here are the higlights of Jo’s ITV interview:

On uniting the country by tacking the issues that made Leave voters feel so dissatisfied in the first place:

And on tackling the climate emergency and how the EU helps us:

Liberal Democrats will not put either BorisJohnson or Jeremy Corbyn into power. They are not good enough for our country and we don’t have to accept it:

And the importance of our plans for free childcare:


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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • She did well there. In fact I’d say all 4 of the interviewees in this programme did much better than the supposedly top two in the head-to-head debate. I don’t know how many viewers will have watched this ‘epilogue,’ but I feel Jo did about as well as she could in the restricted format.

  • Richard Underhill. 19th Nov '19 - 11:29pm

    Jo Swinson was asked about the possibility of Jeremy Corbyn or Boris Johnson resigning.
    Boris Johnson has purged the Conservative Parliamentary Party of Remainers and forced all his candidates to support Leave. The rump of the Tory Party will probably look increasingly like a Nasty Party.
    Labour’s failure on anti-Semitism means that they already are a Nasty Party.

  • nigel hunter 19th Nov '19 - 11:35pm

    Neither of the 2 main parties are worth a penny.Equally some of the questions asked were pathetic when we have the most monumental period in the countries history round the corner.

  • John Barrett 19th Nov '19 - 11:53pm

    Jo was lucky not to be in the earlier debate with the 2 so called “main party” leaders.

    She did very well in a much more informative format, as did all other leaders in the later programme. The Boris and Corbyn event lowered the bar so far that it was good we were kept out of it and that Jo was then able to come across as reasonable and could consider the issues and make sensible responses, which was impossible in the early programme.

  • I agree that Jo did well here. She is at her best in these kind of face-to-face situations, I think. It will be interesting to get the audience figures for this.
    Now, all candidates and activists please note that Sky’s political reporter is asking you to contact him on twitter and talk about what reaction you’re getting on the doorsteps. I’m sure the other parties have plenty of folk talking to him, so let’s make sure we do it as well – talk up how positive voters are in our target seats, street-stalls etc.
    This kind of thing really does influence the way the media cover us, so please lets all do it. Otherwise, don’t complain about the bad coverage we get if you’re not prepared to do your bit when you get the chance! (Pass this on to your fellow activists as well).

  • Richard Underhill. 20th Nov '19 - 8:13am

    ‘Flawed leaders’ Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn shook hands, once.
    Would? could? a coalition be grand?
    Could they agree on who would be PM?
    The late Ian Paisley set an example by sharing with Sinn Fein, although little was achieved.

  • I’m less convinced by…

    “Would you ever be prepared to use a nuclear weapon?”

    I mean, we need more detail – will mass extinctions and the end of human civilisation be within the first six months of a Lib Dem government, or less of a priority?

    The party has certainly come a long way from the one I voted for under Kennedy’s leadership. Maybe casual confident nuclear annihilation is what the voters want and I’m the one out of touch, though?

  • Arnold Kiel 20th Nov '19 - 9:35am

    I hope our strategy is based on a deeper understanding of voter-psychology than mine.

    On a logical level, I find it problematic that the LibDems’s only declared contribution to forming a new Government on 13. December is to win 300+ seats. If we find it electorally necessary to stick to the UK’s laughable nuclear deterrent-threat, always having a PM in No 10 to push the button would be the logical conclusion.

    The SNP’s, Green’s, and BP’s readiness to conditionally support Corbyn or Johnson, respectively, saves them from having to defend a grave inconsistency that impairs our perception as practical political problem-solvers.

  • cim – Charles Kennedy also said yes when asked if he would use nuclear weapons. So has every LibDem leader. She was asked this in a round of very short questions, short answers so she didn’t get a chance to make the obvious point that she would hope/expect never to have to use them. The bottom line is that, if you’ve going to have nuclear weapons, then you have to answer yes to that question.

  • RossMcL – fair enough on Kennedy, but I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have been so terse about it even if told to.

    “Short questions, short answers” … so, what, “Fingers on nuclear buttons, this is the quickfire round! Moscow? Washington DC? London? {Bzzt}”. If potentially the most serious decision a PM would ever have to take is being reduced to that sort of thing, and your candidate doesn’t push back on how inappropriately flippant it is but just goes along with it… that does not convey the level of responsibility needed.

  • Laurence Cox 20th Nov '19 - 11:34am


    Back when Charles Kennedy was leader, there was a debate on Trident replacement at party conference; I think it was a Spring Conference at Harrogate. One of the AOs (I think it was Lib Dems for Peace and Security) called on the Party to reject Trident replacement and came close to winning the vote. In my view this will damage Jo’s position and give the SNP an easy route to attack her.

    I have made criticism here before that I think Jo’s approach is too strident; I think she should have caveated her statement (like ‘ but only if we were attacked by a nuclear weapons state, and never as first use’). That would have got over the sense that the nuclear deterrent is only there as a deterrent (unlike Corbyn who rejects the deterrent entirely).

  • Roy Jenkins answered the nuclear question by saying (roughly) that in principle he would be prepared to press the button, but he could not conceive of circumstances when he would do so. That’s a good answer!

  • @ David Allen “Roy Jenkins answered the nuclear question by saying (roughly) that in principle he would be prepared to press the button, but he could not conceive of circumstances when he would do so. That’s a good answer!”

    It’s not a good answer. It’s a glib trivial politician’s answer, as, I’m afraid was the question to Ms Swinson and the answer that she gave. One thing is for sure, using a nuclear weapon would put a stop to any worries about climate change, poverty, welfare reforms and improving the NHS.

  • Alex Macfie 20th Nov '19 - 1:10pm

    When the NI Assembly was last in session, with DUP and Sinn Féin sharing power, our sister party, the Alliance Party, formed the Official Opposition along with the SDLP and UUP. So NI had the more extreme, sectarian parties in government and the moderate parties in opposition. And so it would be if we had a Grand Coalition in the UK, with us, the SNP and Greens in opposition against an alliance of two different populist groupings.
    And I rate a Grand Coalition as more likely than a coalition involving the Lib Dems in the event of a hung Parliamen.

  • Sandra Hammett 20th Nov '19 - 2:27pm

    For clarity:
    Is the current strategy that in the event of a hung parliament that we would attempt to form a government with the assistance of Plaid, the SNP and the Greens etc; Rainbow Coalition, which means we agree on a People’s Vote but with what on the paper?
    Or would we allow Labour to have a minority government with SNP confidence and supply, resulting in a Labour deal confirmatory vote?
    Or allow a Tory minority government, unallied, to draw out this Brexit mess ad infinitum?
    Have we considered these potentials?

  • Opinion poll in Ulster last month gave Alliance 16% of vote, only 12% behind DUP and 9% behins Sinn Fein.

  • nvelope2003 20th Nov '19 - 6:01pm

    I would be surprised if any British Prime Minister would use nuclear weapons but to say that in public would invite our enemies to take a chance if they felt they needed to attack us. Leaving the EU would increase the risk of it happening. Not all politicians are completely sane. Sometimes I wonder if any of them are.

  • Mick Taylor 20th Nov '19 - 6:36pm

    Perhaps Sandra Hammett should listen to what Jo Swinson has repeatedly said. “We will not put either Johnson or Corbyn into power, because neither are fit to be PM” That’s pretty clear in my book.

  • Sandra Hammett 20th Nov '19 - 7:00pm

    @Mick Taylor
    Clear on Johnson and Corbyn of course, and Chuka Umunna has said that neither the Tory or Labour are a fit for purpose, therefore ruling out working with them unless significant change occurs. What changes we demand as in order to cooperate? I for one would like to know those conditions.
    Jo is shifting to the realisation that we may not be the largest party on Dec 13th and will have to come to arrangements with others to progress.
    So if the Tories and Labour don’t shift meaningfully, are we to make pact (if the numbers are there to form a majority) with 2 nationalist parties, who would obviously want to break up the union?

  • The broad principle is clear: we want to form a government of our own, and if we can’t do that we’ve said we would not make any formal deals with the Tories, Labour or the SNP. We would obviously work with anyone to stop Brexit and pursue other individual policies where we have common ground, but that can be done issue by issue without making formal deals.
    But all of this depends on the precise numbers, which we won’t know until 13 December, which is why it’s silly to over-speculate. Instead let’s all get out there and make sure we maximise the number of LibDem MPs. I hope we’re all doing that, in between commenting here on LDV?

  • Mick Taylor 20th Nov '19 - 8:38pm

    Martin is right to remind us that any deal, whether a formal coalition or confidence and supply or even allowing a government to be formed by abstaining would need the approval of a special party conference. It’s not in the gift of the leader or the parliamentary party.
    Given our experience of coalition between 2010 and 2015, I personally doubt if the party would be willing to do that again unless we were the largest party in the agreement.
    So Jo is quite right to stick to her guns and say we won’t make a deal with either Johnson or Corbyn. I don’t think we would be willing to support a Tory Govt of any stripe and I can’t currently see a scenario where the Labour Party would be our choice either.
    A grand coalition, as suggested above, whilst logical in terms of Brexit is something that has never happened outside of wartime and I can’t really see it either.
    Working with others to stop Brexit on a day to day basis is about as far as we could go.

  • @ Mick Taylor “A grand coalition, as suggested above, whilst logical in terms of Brexit is something that has never happened outside of wartime and I can’t really see it either.”

    1931-35…… though the greater part of the Labour Party and the Lloyd George family refused to taker part in it.

    Must add, I’m not advocating this.

  • Joseph Bourke 21st Nov '19 - 12:38am

    Sandra Hammett,

    “So if the Tories and Labour don’t shift meaningfully, are we to make pact (if the numbers are there to form a majority) with 2 nationalist parties, who would obviously want to break up the union?”
    Following David Raw’s delve into times past. As a result of two general elections in 1910, John Redmond’s Irish party MPs held the ‘balance of power’ at Westminster. In 1912 Asquith, dependent on Irish support, introduced the third Home Rule Bill. Self-government for Ireland. Though it was opposed by the Ulster unionist movement, it seemed unlikely that it could be prevented. It had the backing of the vast bulk of the population in Ireland and of a healthy majority of MPs in the Commons. Meanwhile, the powers of the House of Lords had been reduced in 1911; as a result, peers could delay legislation for up to two years, but they had lost the right to veto it altogether.
    The political situation was transformed, however, by the outbreak of war in Europe. Both unionist and nationalist leaders agreed to support Britain’s war effort, and to postpone a settlement of the Irish question until after hostilities had ceased. The Home Rule bill became law in September 1914 but its operation was suspended for the duration of the conflict. As they say, the rest is history.

  • I’m pleased to see some new flexibility, with the belated recognition that we need to work with others if we are to Stop Brexit.

    Three cheers for the assertion that above all, we must work to deny Johnson an overall majority.

    Two cheers for Swinson’s acceptance that the Lib Dems could conceive of enabling either the Tories or Labour to form a government, if only by abstaining on the Queen’s speech, if either were to promise a second referendum.

    One boo for talking primarily about propping up a minority Tory government, on the framkly unbelievable premise that Johnson would be the most likely future PM to agree to call a People’s Vote on Brexit. Total nonsense. Labour would be far more likely to agree to that – they are more than halfway there already.

    This party waffles endlessly about a position which is not equidistant between Tory and Labour, but is also not closer to either one or the other. (Go figure!)

    So, does Steve Bell of the Guardian have it right, when he pictures the Lib Dems as surreptitiously hiding up the unmentionable fundament of the Conservative Party?

  • chris moore 21st Nov '19 - 6:54am

    They haven’t said they’d prop up a Tory minority government!!

    They’ve said that if BoJo doesn’t have a majority, then they’d be able to extract a People’s vote, in exchange for agreeing to abstain on his withdrawal bill.

    If he doesn’t agree to the referendum, then they’d vote against the bill. And it wouldn’t pass.

  • Jayne Mansfield 21st Nov '19 - 7:28am

    @ David Allen,

    Anyone listening to what Ed Davey has said, should have no doubts that Steve Bell is absolutely on the money.

    The Liberal Democrat Party seems to have moved away from the fantasy that Jo Swinson will be our Prime Minister. In time perhaps the party will realise that pushing for a GE was misconceived, but now in its fantasy land , hit on the idea that the Tories if they have the opportunity to be a minority government, will give a fig about the Liberal Democrats, and offer up a referendum ( the options being?) for some measure of support.

    One party has already offered a Referendum. How ironic that a party that claims to be opposed to Brexit has facilitated that outcome.

    I feel unusually bitter, but I suppose I can look forward to the goodies that my family, not being homeless, in need of food banks, well able to afford private health and social care, private education if necessary, ought not look a gift horse in the mouth, and celebrate, thanks to your parties clear political preference and ineptitude, once more have enabled.

  • Bill le Breton 21st Nov '19 - 8:32am

    There can only be a Tory minority Government if they + the DUP have sufficient votes or, if they are still short, and one or more of the following vote with them or abstain on a ‘confidence vote’; the SNP, Ourselves, Greens, PC, independents or Labour.

    To voluntarily bring this matter up jeopardises candidates across the country who are relying on ‘anti-Johnson’ votes to win. There is not a single Liberal Democrat candidate anywhere – be his or her former majority everso great – who is not reliant on these voters.

    If the Tories + DUP don’t have the ‘votes’, then, at least one other Party will have to ‘break’.

    Reading the above comments from the very first is like watching a very slow motion car crash develop.

  • If, as I anticipate, we manage only up to 15 seats we will not be in a position to say what our government will be. The power will be the SNP, surely. Best to stand back and let matters play out, just like the Free Democrats did in Germany.

  • Ed Davey last night made the party’s position perfectly clear. Liberal Democrats will not, absolutely not, put either Johnson or Corbyn into No 10 and will vote on a case by case basis. That should have been the position in 2010, and it is the position now.

    I am glad to see Caroline Voaden on Twitter attacking Johnson on character. We need much, much more of that. There are plenty of people out there who actually do care about standards in public life. What did they say about Richard Nixon? Would you buy a used car from this man?

  • Bill le Breton is correct.

    There is no clear message or consistency in the campaign just a constant shifting of position. Sadly, there is a point to Jayne Mansfield’s comments.

  • Bill le Breton 21st Nov '19 - 11:40am

    Martin, I think you will find that, yes, Johnson remains PM, but does not have the support of the civil service until it is evident that he has control of the House of Commons.

    Just as during this election period he is PM but cannot initiate anything new. The civil service keeps things ticking over.

    In theory the FTPA requires someone to win a ‘Vote of Confidence’. In practice a majority would be taken as sufficient. As, I imagine so would a signed agreement a la 2010, or a letter from other Party leaders suggesting they have agreed a confidence and supply agreement.

    If there was any question that he could not obviously win such a vote I am not sure he could under the legislation call the Queen out to read a speech.

    I may be wrong but the difficulty that the Ed Davey interview has created starts from the incorrect assumption that Johnson as if by magic has the ability to table a WAB.

    I sincerely hope this does not unravel.

  • chris moore 21st Nov '19 - 2:03pm

    The current polls indicate a Tory overall majority.
    Labour have some very poor polling figures and are faring very badly in constituency polls.

    Labour are highly unlikely to be the biggest party. Together, Labour and Lib Dems are nowhere near a majority. This is depressing, but it’s the situation.

    In the event that the Tories fall short, the tactic of offering to abstain on the withdrawal bill, in return for a People’s Vote is a no-brainer.

    It doesn’t imply we suddenly love the Tories.

    Nor does it mean the Tories would go for it.

  • chris moore 21st Nov '19 - 2:07pm

    Lastly, the creeping in of defeatism from a few posters on here on the back of a few negative polls is unfortunate and pre-mature.

    It’s happened before that the Libs/Alliance/Lib Dems get squeezed in the early days of a campaign.

    My impression is that we are beginning to gain traction. We need to hold our nerve and beat on against the current.

    We are not however going to sweep the board

  • jayne mansfield 21st Nov '19 - 5:44pm

    @ Martin,
    Labour are intending to re-negotiate a deal which keeps us within the customs union and offers close alignment with the single market. They are intending to hold it within 6 months if they win the election. UCH’s Constitution Unit reckons that it would take a minimum 22 weeks to organise a further referendum so it would be tight, but as someone who relishes tight deadlines, it can be done if one puts the energy into seeing it done. Keir Starmer and Jeremy Corbyn have already been having meetings with Michel Barnier to test the water..

    How do you know most in Labour would vote against a referendum. Certainly , there are a few who would for political reasons, and there are some fundamentally remainer MPs who would vote against because they promised that they would respect the outcome of the last referendum, but on what basis do you make the claim that a majority would. not?

    As for right wing Brexiteers, they are a minority clique, the rest of the former remainer tories are just spineless. As the self described party of business, most tories will know full well the consequences of Brexit and what will happen to the party when the lies are revealed. If they fail to, as some but not I would say, ‘grow a pair’, and vote for what they believe is in the best interests against the country, they must know that their Mendaciousness -in -Chief will ultimately destroy what is left of it. How many Tory MPs do you think are comfortable with what is happening to their party?

    A second referendum is now the only democratic way of overturning the result of the last one. The rationale, Brexit has not been the easy transition promised and the electorate are now in a better position to make an informed decision. Labour will be the major challenger of the Conservative party and they are offering one. For some of us, keeping Johnson and his clique out of power for many reasons, not least the risk of a no deal Brexit, really is die in the ditch serious and too important for party political manoeuvering.

  • David Allen 22nd Nov '19 - 2:21pm

    Chris Moore,

    “In the event that the Tories fall short, the tactic of offering to abstain on the withdrawal bill, in return for a People’s Vote is a no-brainer.”

    You are right. But you could equally have said “if Labour fall short”. That would have been equally a no-brainer.

    So why did Ed Davey feel it sensible to mention one party as a potential ally, but not the other? He was clearly signalling a preference for the Tories, was he not?

  • chris moore 22nd Nov '19 - 2:38pm

    David, I believe you have misunderstood.

    Ed was talking about swapping support for the Withdrawal Bill for a second referendum.

    He was not talking about a Coalition with the Tories or support on any other issue.

    We have very little in common with the Tories. However, if they are the largest party (95% certain) and also close to a majority, it makes sense to try to extract a referendum, using what leverage we have.

    We will be in a position of weakness; but we have to try.

    Labour our currently on course for around 200 seats. There’s little prospect of Labour and Lib Dems and SNP and other parties being able to force a second referendum on their own ie without some Tory input. that’s disagreeable, but it’s how it is.

  • David Evans 22nd Nov '19 - 3:41pm

    I worry when people post things like “In the event that the Tories fall short, the tactic of offering to abstain on the withdrawal bill, in return for a People’s Vote is a no-brainer.”

    It is as if some Lib Dems have completely forgotten how the Conservatives totally betrayed Nick Clegg in coalition – he gave and gave and gave and they took and took and took and then stopped and refused.

    On the other hand “In the event that no party has a majority, the option of offering to abstain on the withdrawal bill, in return for a People’s Vote which is part of the Withdrawal Bill, along with the latest deal, the option to remain and no deal and is unrevokable is an avenue to explore.”

  • Just watched Question Time.

    Oh, dear. I’m afraid it was a car crash.

  • The audience on QT seemed stuffed full of Corbynites, with plenty of well prepared attack lines against Jo Swinson, and an assumption that the Lib Dems are merely an obstacle, blocking their party’s route to power. She didn’t, admittedly, seem able to cope very well in the hostile environment.

  • @ John B “The audience on QT seemed stuffed full of Corbynites,”

    It was stuffed full of people who asked perfectly fair legitimate questions, and I’m afraid they didn’t get adequate answers….. so it doesn’t help to pretend otherwise.

  • I thought Jo performed extremely well -albeit with a potentially weak hand in a hostile environment. She was extremely articulate, composed under pressure and presented a very good image.

    Why she had a weak hand is a different matter.

  • David Raw: It was stuffed full of people who asked perfectly fair legitimate questions, and I’m afraid they didn’t get adequate answers….. so it doesn’t help to pretend otherwise.
    Since you are incapable of accepting any criticism of Jeremy Corbyn in your repeated posts on this site, it’s not surprising that you can’t recognise when people are asking politically motivated questions.

  • JohnB – Question Time audience ask politically motivated questions of Political Party Leaders during a General Election. Shock. Horror. Who would ever anticipate such a thing?

    Corbyn and the others didn’t exactly get an easy ride.

  • David Raw – Why are you active on this site, when you clearly aren’t a campaigning, loyal LD member/supporter ? I also thought Jo performed extremely well in a hostile environment. She was extremely articulate, composed under pressure and presented a very good image. I thought she did well.

  • Peter Watson 22nd Nov '19 - 11:26pm

    The problem for Swinson is that while Johnson and Corbyn expect to be given a very tough time by the “other side”, she was given a tough time by all sides, left and right, Brexit and Remain. It didn’t help that her voting record in Coalition was being contrasted with Lib Dem positions now.
    Almost ten years ago, Clegg made the political centre look like a strong, sensible, confident place to be even though Brown and Cameron weren’t that far away on either side, but despite (or perhaps because of) the massive space between Corbyn and Johnson, Swinson did not give that impression tonight.

  • @Tim Hill. Just for the avoidance of doubt. Whilst I think Jo performed extremely well under pressure I also agree with David Raw that she was asked fair and legitimate questions, about both the Coalition and the Revoke policy. None of the questions should be any surprise to anyone outside the Great George Street/Federal Board Bunker.

  • We have been speculating about a general election for some time. And all of the time that Jo has been leader.

    Why didn’t we have an answer to dealing with poverty?
    Why can we still be seen as an austerity party?
    Why hasn’t the party realised that Jo’s answers on the benefit cuts she supported while in government are not adequate?
    Why haven’t we got an answer to the trust question following most of our 2010-15 MP’s breaking their personal pledges of 2010?

    As the programme came from Sheffield why were not a good proportion of the audience Lib Dem supports?

  • I’ve just watched the Jo BBCQT segment in light of the online comment. It’s nowhere near as bad as some people are suggesting. It was a hard grilling on difficult topics from an audience stuffed with political activists hostile to her. But it was all very civil and polite, she held her own and engaged with questioners well. For every critic who saw it wasn’t a commanding performance another will have been impressed by her engagement. And of course all the individual weaknesses of the party the hostile questioning focused on are nothing to do with her ( individually ). I think people are flapping unfairly because ” Stop Brexit ” hasn’t proved magic fairy dust for all the brand toxicity from the coalition.

  • Phil Beesley 23rd Nov '19 - 8:36am

    The Labour Party clearly did a good job at getting their supporters into the audience. When the opening question of the session began “Good evening, Jeremy” you knew that Corbyn was being bowled a soft delivery. The woman who gave Corbyn a hard time over abuse targeted at Ruth Smeeth was my highlight.

    Not a great evening for Jo Swinson but the applause when she finished her slot seemed positive.

  • Do we still get a lot of criticism from voters on our conduct during the coalition ? If so then it is unlikely the party will make much progress until all those associated with that period have ceased to hold front line posts. In the circumstances Jo Swinson did well but those who know what they are talking about are unlikely to be popular. I am afraid you do have to appear to sink to the level of the average person or you will be accused of acting like bossy boots. None of the hostile questioners seemed to have any actual evidence for what they were saying – it seemed more like blind hatred from ardent members of the Labour Party who understandably wanted to buttress their party’s position. What a shame that Labour List does not seem to allow comments on its site – maybe they are terrified of what might be said.

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