Tag Archives: Jo Swinson

Two important Lib Dem leadership debates

Ballot papers in the leadership election will land in people’s letterboxes and inboxes from 1st July.

The 105,000 Lib Dem members will have two opportunities before then to see the two candidates, Ed Davey and Jo Swinson, go head to head on live tv. The first is on Victoria Derbyshire at 10 am on Thursday 27th July. The second is on Adam Boulton’s All out Politics on Sky at 9am on Monday 1st July.

We’ll catch up with Ed and Jo properly tomorrow but today has seen the first direct conflict of the leadership campaign.

In an article in the Times (£) this morning, Ed would have wanted the discussion to be around his plan to stop Brexit. People actually picked up on a quite violent turn of phrase:

So I hereby float the idea of a Remain alliance to decapitate that blond head in Uxbridge and South Ruislip if Johnson calls a snap election to deliver Brexit.

Quite obviously not meant literally, but still more violent than many people felt comfortable with.

Jo was uncomfortable with the way Ed expressed the view of Boris being a total disaster:

The language we use is important. We have to be able to have robust debate in our politics without resorting to graphic, violent imagery. We have to rediscover the ability to disagree well with each other.

This is not language I would use, and in the current climate I don’t think we should speak in those terms.

Boris will be a disaster for this country, but we can make that case without resorting to violent language.

Later in the day, Ed recognised that a less violent metaphor would have been more appropriate:

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Jo’s Day – 24 June 2019

Monday started with Bollocks to Boris as well as Brexit- an article in The Times (£)

How much hardship will now be endured to satisfy Boris Johnson’s ego? How many families will find life harder for the sake of his ambition? How many patients will wait, propped up on plastic chairs in hospital corridors, for that £350 million a week he promised on the side of a bus?

One thing is for certain, Boris doesn’t care. Consequences are for other people. Just ask Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

And what do the Lib Dems offer?

Britain needs leaders who are up front and honest about the choices facing our country. I make no apology for wanting to stop Brexit — whatever version we end up getting will be a national disaster. And I’m not afraid to make that case to the British people.

The Liberal Democrats were the first to call for a people’s vote on the final Brexit deal and I am proud to have been the party’s lead in that campaign, working alongside people of all parties and none in pursuit of a common goal. The European elections have now proved that we are UK’s biggest and strongest party of Remain.

And tonight, she and Ed took part in the New Statesman hustings.

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Jo’s Weekend – 21-23 June 2019

Jo’s interview with the New European came out:

I ask Jo Swinson why she should lead the Liberal Democrats and she takes a deep breath and manages to get it out in all of three sentences. “I’m the best person to lead the movement because I can reach out to new voters, through traditional broadcast media, where I have a high profile, and through social media, where I have a high following.

I also think I can reach out across the generations and across the country. I have cross-party relationships and a non-tribal style, which I think is exactly what we need at the moment.”

And she talks about the need for a more diverse country:

I recognise that ours is still a racist country. We have not dealt with those issues as much as we would have liked to, even if there has been progress in some areas. I would hope that one day soon we could have a black leader of a political party.

Ours should be a country where every individual has an opportunity to thrive. That is not currently the case – partly on the basis of race, gender, disability, socio-economic background, sexual orientation or whatever – and, as it is, we are probably in line for another Etonian prime minister. Quite frankly, a large number of people are still not achieving their potential in our country, and, as a liberal, I am not happy with that and want to change it.

In Wales, she met Welsh Leader and Brecon and Radnorshire by-election candidate Jane Dodds.

 

And in Cornwall she was helping campaign for fairer NHS funding for the county:

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Jo’s Day – 20 June 2019

We had gone to bed before Jo last night so we missed her interview on Peston:

And a few hours later she was on Sky:

Then a message for World Refugee Day

Both candidates have had their second emails sent out through the party. Jo’s comes from one of our new MEPs, Antony Hook:

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Jo Swinson: Arms sales to Saudi Arabia must be suspended immediately

Today the Campaign Against the Arms Trade won its legal challenge to the Conservative Government’s decision to sell arms to Saudi Arabia.

Jo Swinson called on the Government to suspend arms sales immediately.

Saudi Arabia is an enemy of British values, including human rights and the rule of law. Their repeated violation and disregard for human rights should have ruled them out as an arms trading partner long ago.

Instead the Conservative government have continued to export arms and equipment to this brutal regime. The situation is inexcusable and cannot continue.

This court ruling is monumental.

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Jo’s Day – 19 June 2019

Jo’s day started by tackling the Secretary of State for Scotland about the impact of Brexit and the prospect of No Deal on her constituency:

Brexit is already having an impact on East Dunbartonshire’s major employers. Aviva has announced that there will be job losses in the coming years, and a major engineering firm—an award-winning exporter—has told me about the negative impact Brexit is having on its business. Knowing what he does about the devastating impact on Scotland, how can the Secretary of State possibly countenance the no-deal or hard Brexit being offered by his colleagues in his party’s leadership election?

She was, with Ed, on the Jeremy Vine Show. Listen here from around 42:56.

On coalition, she said that we made the right decision to go in and we got a lot of things right but if we take the credit for successes we need to be honest about where we got it wrong – like the Bedroom Tax.

She attacked David Cameron for framing our relationship with the EU as a transactional relationship about benefits for Polish plumbers rather than a strategic necessity for our country.

She talked about a more pluralist politics where you work together with people in other parties.

And she was challenged on local Lib Dems fighting onshore wind farms which we are supposed to be in favour of.

She talked about targeting support for people who are impacted by particular policies.

Later,  she did a Facebook Q & A of her own:

An interview with the Press Association was reported in the Belfast Telegraph:

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Jo’s Day – 18 June 2019

A busy day for Jo today.

Backing Stella Creasy on parental leave for MPs.

And appearing on Channel 4 News to talk about how important it was to do this in 2019.

Realising who Boris is really scared of…

Tackling the health secretary on protecting our NHS data in future post Brexit talks

And talking to the Times (£) about possible Remain pacts:

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WATCH: The online leadership hustings

You’ve seen a few comments on Ed’s Day and Jo’s Day. Now see the whole online hustings which took place tonight.

500 questions were submitted in advance of the event, chaired by party President Sal Brinton. It was the first of its type for a UK political party.

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Jo’s Day – 17th June 2019

Funnily enough, the big thing in Jo’s day was the online hustings too.

Here are some of her highlights.

Earlier in the day, Jo had been questioning the Government about the attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf.

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Jo’s Weekend – 15-16 June 2019

It’s the third weekend of the campaign and that means hustings. From the north west on Friday night, the hustings train moved to Leeds on Saturday morning and Nottingham in the evening.

She took time to remember Jo Cox, the Labour MP who was murdered 3 years ago today.

This Radio 4 profile featured some familiar voices and you can find out which band she liked as a teenager, listen to a  fascinating excerpt from a school essay and find out the first song at her wedding – as well as some anecdotes from her first election campaign.

And there’s always room for a Douglas Adams reference:

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A good reason to check your emails

If you are a party member and you don’t know about the leadership hustings taking place between Ed Davey and Jo Swinson tomorrow night, you might want to check your emails as you will have an invitation to them.

You will need to RSVP in order to be sent the link to the proceedings.

It’s taking place tomorrow night at 7pm. If you can’t make it then, it will be uploaded to the party website after the event.g

Here’s the two in action at the London hustings to whet your appetite:

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Jo’s Day – 13 and 14 June 2019

She took Boris to task on how he had put a British woman in peril and separated her from her young daughter.

In a Politics Home interview, she said that she wanted to be Prime Minister.

I’d love to be Prime Minister,” she says. “I’m not underestimating the scale of the challenge but equally politics is more volatile than I’ve known it, so who knows?”

She also took apart the double standards over drug use:

“Not particularly Earth-shattering, lots of people did and still do,” she says. “We ought to change our drugs laws because they don’t work. We don’t treat drug abuse like a public health issue and we should.”

She hits out at what she sees as the hypocrisy from Conservative leadership candidates on drugs. She does not name Environment Secretary Michael Gove, but seems to have him in mind: “You’ve got people who get criminalised and the full weight of the law comes down on them and yet for cabinet ministers it’s just like ‘okay, fine then’. That double standard is really troubling. They pursue these drugs policies, the so-called war on drugs, trying to act tough even though they don’t work.”

On Friday, Jo remembered those who died at Grenfell:

And standing up for trans rights at the North West hustings:

And finally, on a more light-hearted note…

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Ed and Jo on Chuka joining the Lib Dems

Both the leadership candidates have warmly welcomed Chuka Umunna to the Lib Dems:

Ed said:

Stopping Brexit is my number one priority and I welcome Chuka to our benches as a key player in this fight. He has shown huge courage, and will make a major contribution to the Liberal Democrats.

Liberal Democrats are back in the game, and the only viable force for pro-Europeans across the UK. Join us.

Jo said:

I have said all along that growing a liberal movement means reaching out to bring more people into our party, and I am delighted that Chuka has decided to join the Liberal Democrats.

I have worked with Chuka on the People’s Vote campaign, and I know the passion, intellect, and energy he will bring to our party, and our campaign to stop Brexit.

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Jo’s Day – 12 June 2019

The candidates did their first emails to party members. Read Jo’s in full here.

My aim as Leader is to build on our 700+ gains in the local elections and our fantastic success in the European Elections to change Britain’s politics.

As Leader, I will win us the cut through we need to get our strong liberal message across.

As Leader I will reach out to the next generation, bringing new and vibrant talent into our party.

And as Leader I will ensure that the Liberal Democrats lead the liberal revival that our politics so desperately needs.

On BBC Politics Live, she was pretty robust on Boris’ lack of suitability for the top job:

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Jo’s Day – 11 June 2019

In an interview with Businesss Insider, Jo says that she can reach out to new voters:

She said that one of her key qualities was that she’s “not a tribal politician” and had an advantage over Davey in being in a stronger position to win voters from the Conservatives, Labour and elsewhere.

I was down at the Donald Trump protest last week and several people came up to me and said they had joined the Lib Dems as a result of seeing me on Question Time,” she told Business Insider. “It is working.”

She added: “In this election, it is about who can break through and take the Lib Dems above 20%. It’s a big ask and a big challenge but I believe the opportunity is for us to do that.”

She ruled out making a coalition deal with either the incoming leader of the Conservatives or Jeremy Corbyn:

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Jo’s Day – 10 June 2019

Jo started the day by agreeing with Jeremy Hunt. No, really:

In the Commons, Jo questioned Said Javid on a key civil liberties issue:

In his remarks about facial recognition technology earlier, the Minister for Policing rightly spoke about the need to take the public with us. Does the Secretary of State recognise that the imposition of Big Brother-style surveillance and fining people for covering their face with their coat is no way to secure the public’s trust? Will the Government halt the use of live facial recognition technology in policing until there has been a proper public debate, Parliament has considered a framework and there are civil liberties safeguards?

Unfortunately Javid’s desire to legislate in a really awful way came shining through.

New technology and AI is one of Jo’s key interests. She wrote for the New Statesman about why transparency and ethics should be at the forefront of development:

She highlighted that same facial recognition pilot:

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Jo’s weekend – 7-9 June 2019

Jo is used to a long commute home to East Dunbartonshire at the weekend.

She had a few hours’ extra to get to Aberdeen, though, for the first of two Scottish hustings.

The Edinburgh hustings was very busy1

And , finally, Newcastle.

And in an interview with the Independent, Jo said that her style matched the political zeitgeist:

She said there was “more agreement on policy between us than you would find with the Tory contenders”. But said she believed her “non-tribal” approach to politics and ability to cut through to voters outside London and the southeast and young social media users gave her the edge.

“I’m the leader that can be the rallying point for the liberal movement that we need to create to take on the forces of nationalism and populism, the likes of Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson,” she said.

“The non-tribal way I do politics is perfect for this moment.”

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Jo’s Day – 7 June 2019

Today, Jo got the backing of the leader of the Scottish Lib Dems, Willie Rennie:

Sometimes it’s a battle to get the best media coverage for the party so we need a leader who has the skills necessary to be heard loudly.

“Jo is an excellent communicator and she’ll be a fantastic champion to take on the forces of nationalism and populism.”

He added: “Jo is a fantastic campaigner, who showed the determination and campaigning skill the party needs when she won her seat back from the SNP, and I’m excited to see how she brings all that energy and hard work tohttps://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/london-life/lib-dem-jo-swinson-on-unity-proxy-voting-a4162056.html the role of the leader of our party.”

And she told the Standard that she has no limits to the ambitions for the Lib Dems:

“Our job in British politics is clear,” says Swinson. “We are the rallying point for Remain, for people with liberal values. I don’t put any limits on the ambitions of the Lib Dems. Who knows what will happen — no one expected Corbyn to become leader of Labour, no one expected Trump to be President. We have a fracturing of the political system. This is an opportunity. I absolutely recognise the scale of the task but people want a different way of doing politics.” She is working with the former Change UK MPs and “recognises the courage it takes to leave a party you’ve been in for a long time”.

And she and Ed both ruled out Indyref2.

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Jo’s Day: 6th June 2019

75 years from D Day, Jo remembered those who took part in the invasion:

 

Jo appeared on Question Time with Rory Stewart last week. Today she questioned him at his first International Development Questions as Secretary of state:

I welcome the Minister to the Dispatch Box in his new Cabinet role, and I warmly welcome his clear and genuine commitment to tackling the climate emergency. Does he accept, however, that there is a contradiction between the excellent work that his Department does in helping to mitigate and adapt to the climate emergency in developing countries and the way in which, through UK Export Finance, we continue​to subsidise fossil fuels to the tune of billions of pounds? Will he use his leadership in Government, in whatever form, to ensure that he pushes to stop those fossil fuel subsidies?

She had a message of good luck for Beki Sellick:

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Jo’s Day – 4th June 2019

It was a busy day for Jo too.

She was on the anti-Trump front line.

 

As business minister, Jo introduced the scheme which saw employers who didn’t pay the minimum wage named and shamed. No surprise, then, that the Government is now trying to water it down.

She tackled the Minister during an Urgent Question on the matter in the Commons:

Naming and shaming employers who fail to pay even the basic minimum is one of the strongest ways that society can send a message that such behaviour is unacceptable. The Minister talks about the impact on employers of being named, but I am more concerned about the impact on workers who are underpaid—some of the most vulnerable people in our society. Whether it is deliberate or otherwise, they feel that impact. I recall the opposition that I had to face from the Minister’s Conservative colleagues when I was in her role and introduced this scheme. Will she give the House an assurance today that the review will include no watering down of the scheme to let employers off the hook, and will she name the date when the next round of naming will happen?

Then this evening a keynote speech on the future of Liberal Democracy at The Convention, an event highlighting the threat of social media and dark money to our democracy.

Jo’s speech is at 31:45 in.

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Jo’s Day – 3rd June 2019

For both our leadership candidates, today has been relatively quiet after a frenetic weekend.

But there was a common theme in their tweets:

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Jo’s Weekend – 1st and 2nd June 2019

The Liberal Democrat leadership election has got off to a blistering start.We’ll be looking at what the leadership candidates get up to each day during the week and once at the weekend.  Here’s a summary of  Jo Swinson’s weekend.

There was a joint interview on Channel 4 with Ed Davey on Friday night.

And then the first party leadership hustings in London, which have been recorded here.

On Saturday there were hustings in Winchester. What a venue!

And on to Bath:

There was a Guardian interview too:

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Ed and Jo round 1 – the London leadership hustings

It’s going to be a gruelling month for our Lib Dem leadership candidates. They’ve both had a fair bit of media exposure the last couple of days and tonight they are in Jeremy Corbyn’s backyard having their first hustings.

If anyone who is actually there wants to write up a report of the event, it would be very gratefully received. There were a lot of you there – which is fantastic on a Friday night on not that much notice.

In the meantime, here’s the pick of the tweets from the event. London Lib Dems did a fairly comprehsensive blow by blow account. Here are some other voices.

New members are impressed:

Opening statements

 

Questions

First, Brexit

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Alistair Carmichael MP writes…How Lib Dem MPs will approach the leadership election

Next month will mark eighteen years since I was first elected as a Member of Parliament. To say it has been something of a rollercoaster would be an understatement – so it feels good to be on the way back up again!

One of the things that has made the process of rebuilding so much easier over the last couple of years has been the really good team dynamic that we have within the parliamentary party. Most of the time agreement on positioning and priorities is simple and intuitive. When it is not then I think we manage our discussions and differences well. Even when Stephen Lloyd felt it necessary to resign the whip because of undertakings he had given to his constituents before he was elected, the process was amicable and we all remain on good terms with Stephen.

It is against that background that we now embark on a leadership contest between two of our own colleagues – Jo Swinson and Ed Davey. The choice for the party will be between two different styles and sometimes maybe priorities. Our greatest strength is that as a party we are united. We simply do not have the ideological splits that will probably split either or both of the Conservative or Labour Parties in the next twelve months. Whichever of the two candidates is chosen by the members will lead a united group in the House of Commons. I would be as happy to work with either Jo or Ed as leader as I have been to work with Vince for the last two years.

Our constitution gives a special role to MPs in the process of electing a party leader – it requires any candidate to have the support of at least ten percent of the rest of the parliamentary party. In a parliamentary party of over fifty that made sense. In a parliamentary party of eleven things are different. That is why Liberal Democrat MPs have decided to treat their role in this election as a different, essentially neutral one. As all MPs are happy to work with either Jo or Ed as leader our role should be to facilitate a vote amongst the members. We will do this by agreeing that two MPs will nominate Jo (Tom Brake and Christine Jardine) and that two of us will nominate Ed (Wera Hobhouse and Jamie Stone).

In nominating in this way they act on behalf of us all in saying that we will work with whoever the membership should choose and that they should make the choice. Of course some parliamentary colleagues will want to make their preference known in the course of the campaign (Vince, as outgoing leader will not, nor will I as chief whip) but that is quite apart from the nomination process.

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Jo Swinson launches leadership campaign

It’s official. After a teasing video last night

Jo made the announcement that she was running to be leader of the Liberal Democrats on Question Time

She released her campaign video on Twitter this morning

Her campaign website is here.

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Video fun as Jo Swinson prepares to appear on Question Time

Jo Swinson is on Question Time tonight on BBC One at 10:35 pm.  Here she is having a bit of fun beforehand.

And her colleague Christine Jardine drops a pretty heavy hint about Jo’s future intentions…

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LibLink: Jo Swinson Lib Dems reaped the rewards of unapologetically supporting a People’s Vote

Somewhere in the long night on Sunday, when she was dotting about between various media outlets, Jo Swinson found the time to write an article for the Times Red Box looking at the reasons for the spectacular Lib Dem success. Being clear about what we were about paid dividends.

Our message at the elections was crystal clear and it worked. Voters recognised the Liberal Democrats are the largest and strongest Remain party. For the past two and a half years we have been unapologetically making the case for a People’s Vote and we have successfully built a cross-party, cross-country movement in support of it.

But while Labour and the Tories lead the country to a disastrous Brexit, we have more to do:

Even as we celebrate these excellent results, we can’t ignore that the Brexit Party made significant gains, that the favourite in the Conservative leadership contest panders to the far right to advance his career (and is certainly not fit for public office), and that the leader of the opposition is yet to take a stance on the biggest issue of the day.

Brexit has turned us into a laughing stock internationally. It’s detracted attention for the real challenges we face, such as the climate emergency, widening inequality and struggling public services. And it’s preventing us from making the most of the technological revolution right ahead of us.

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Were you denied the right to vote on Thursday? Let us know

Two Lib Dem MPs expected to stand for the leadership of the party have called for action after EU citizens were denied the right to vote on Thursday because local authorities hadn’t properly processed their applications. The Guardian reports that the Government may face action:

The government is facing calls to launch an urgent investigation into the treatment of EU citizens in the European elections after many people reported being denied their democratic right to vote.

Voters across the country told of their devastation at finding their names crossed off the register due to clerical errors by local councils. Experts said the situation was a “scandal we knew was coming” and that the government may have a case to answer in court.

The affected voters said they felt they were being “silenced” as this was the only election they had a right to participate in, being ineligible to vote in the referendum or general elections.

Our two as yet undeclared expected leadership candidates have had strong words to say on the subject.

Ed Davey put out a call for evidence from those affected.

And Jo Swinson called for an investigation:

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24 May 2019 – today’s (other) press release

Swinson demands Electoral Commission investigate EU election debacle

Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson has written to the Electoral Commission demanding an investigation after countless EU citizens were unable to vote in the Euro elections this week.

In a letter to Sir John Holmes, Chair of the Electoral Commission, the Liberal Democrat MP said “it is an outrage that so many people were denied the right to vote in yesterday’s European elections.”

She added: “Not only were European citizens turned away at polling stations, but many UK citizens abroad were also disenfranchised due to breakdowns in the postal …

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14 May 2019 – today’s press release

Corbyn a friend to Tories, not to Remainers

The Liberal Democrats today unveiled an election poster slamming Jeremy Corbyn for spending time helping the Tories deliver Brexit rather than doing anything to Stop Brexit.

According to analysis of the parliamentary record by the Liberal Democrats, the Labour party whipped either to abstain or to vote with the Conservative Government on a total of 29 key Brexit votes.

The poster, launched by Liberal Democrat MPs Jo Swinson and Ed Davey, comes as the Labour party descended into another row over its Brexit position.

Liberal Democrat …

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