Tag Archives: Jo Swinson

Jo Swinson appoints new MPs to Shadow Cabinet

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson has today announced an expanded Shadow Cabinet.

New MPs Luciana Berger and Phillip Lee will take on Health, Wellbeing and Social Care and Justice respectively. Angela Smith has been appointed Shadow Secretary of State for International Development while Sam Gyimah will shadow Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson said:

As we enter a crucial few days for the future of our country, I am delighted to announce the new Liberal Democrat shadow cabinet.

This team will take the fight to Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn, and offer a brighter future

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How super Lib Dem MPs contributed to Super Saturday

Here are the Lib Dem contributions from our MPs in yesterday’s “Super Saturday” debates.

First up was Jo, basically telling the Prime Minister that he was too feart to put his deal to the people:

The Prime Minister’s deal removes protections on workers’ rights. It puts a border down the Irish sea and, according to the Government’s own analysis, will damage our economy on a scale greater than the financial crash. Today, hundreds of thousands of people will be outside demanding a final say in a people’s vote. Is not it the truth that the reason why the Prime Minister refuses their calls is that he knows that, if given the option, the people will reject his bad deal and choose to remain in the European Union?

Which he didn’t answer, of course.

Then Luciana tackled him on the fact that the Government hadn’t even provided back of a cigarette packet figures for how the deal would impact on the economy:

The Prime Minister’s Brexit Secretary was on television this morning. He confirmed that no economic analysis of the deal has been done. I ask the House to let that sink in: no economic analysis of the deal, on which we are all expected to vote today, has been done. How does the Prime Minister anticipate that Members on all sides the House can, in good faith, be expected to vote on a deal today that will impact on our country for decades to come?

Answer came there none. And the same when Sarah Wollaston had a go later:

Evidence matters, Prime Minister. How can he possibly assure our constituents that this is a good deal if he has not carried out an economic impact assessment of what it will cost them? If he has carried that out, why on earth are we not able to see it as we debate this today?

Tom Brake challenged him to rule out leaving at the end of the transition period without a deal:

Would the Prime Minister agree to pass an Act making it unlawful for us to leave at the end of the transition phase without a deal?

And he refused to do so. Quelle surprise. But look at what he said, while thanking ministers and civil servants for procuring the deal:

I respectfully say to the right hon. Gentleman that I do not think their position has been made easier by measures passed in the name of the right hon. Member for Leeds Central (Hilary Benn). Not a good idea!

A bit of a contradiction since he’s been hailing this brilliant deal he brought back with the Benn Act in place.

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Jo Swinson on “What’s next?”

Embed from Getty Images
Use the arrows above to see a slide show of today’s People’s Vote march

After today’s historic session in parliament, which has extended PM Johnson’s unblemished record of defeats, Jo Swinson has written to party members with the following summary:

After today’s votes, the fight to stop Brexit continues.

Hundreds of thousands of people are marching outside Parliament, where I’ve just finished voting, to demand a final say.

After today’s votes, Boris Johnson must obey the law and send a letter asking for Article 50 to be extended.

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17 October 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Welsh Lib Dems: Brexit deal must be put to the people
  • Record high knife crime offences shows Tories failure to act
  • Lib Dems: Brexit deal must be put to the people

Welsh Lib Dems: Brexit deal must be put to the people

Commenting on reports that a deal has been agreed between the EU and the UK Government, the Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds, said:

It is remarkably clear that Boris Johnson’s deal would be bad for our economy, bad for our public services, and bad for our environment.

His deal will create a hard border down the Irish Sea, hurting Welsh farmers

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Jo: The fight to stop Brexit is far from over

So Boris Johnson has struck an eleventh hour deal which he intends to put to Parliament as hundreds of thousands of marchers take to the street demanding a People’s Vote.  The Lib Dems will be meeting at the Duke of Wellington Arch in Hyde Park at 11 am.

Jo’s reaction was pretty clear. We continue to fight to stop Brexit:

The fight to stop Brexit is far from over.

Boris Johnson’s deal would be bad for our economy, bad for our public services, and bad for our environment.

The next few days will set the direction of our country for generations, and I am more determined than ever to stop Brexit.

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15 October 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Car firm job losses show Johnson’s disregard for British business
  • Welsh Lib Dems: Poll shows we are now third party for Westminster
  • Lib Dems call for urgent action to tackle rising hate crimes
  • Lib Dems table People’s Vote amendment to Queen’s speech

Car firm job losses show Johnson’s disregard for British business

Responding to the reports that one in three car firms are cutting jobs, Liberal Democrat shadow Brexit Secretary Tom Brake said:

It is time Boris Johnson woke up to the fact that the manufacturing sector, and the automotive industries in particular, are suffering badly from Brexit-related uncertainty. Jobs are being lost, investment is down

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14 October 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Jane Dodds: TV License changes detrimental to dementia sufferers
  • Swinson: Queen’s speech is a charade
  • Fifa and UEFA must take action against racist abuse of players

Jane Dodds: TV License changes detrimental to dementia sufferers

Jane Dodds, MP for Brecon and Radnorshire, is calling on the Government to restore BBC funding in order to protect free TV licenses.

The BBC recently announced that, due to budget cuts from the UK Government, they are moving to scrap the blanket free TV licenses for over-75s and instead only offering them to people claiming Pension Credit.

These licenses have been provided by the BBC since 2000 and approximately 4.5 …

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The Lib Dems have a new Chief Executive

Mike Dixon, currently Chief Executive of Addaction, a mental health, drug, alcohol and young persons charity, has been appointed Chief Executive of the Liberal Democrats. He will start his new role next Monday, 21st October.

He was previously Assistant Chief Executive at Citizens’ Advice.

Mike said:

I’m delighted to take on this role. We’ve just had our best ever European election results and new members are joining all the time, taking us to record levels of membership. Millions of people want the country to stop Brexit and focus on things like the climate emergency, investing in schools and people’s mental health.

I’m looking forward to getting started next week. We’ve got a great team, inspirational political leadership and a thriving, inclusive party. If you want change, join us today.

Sal Brinton added:

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Jo on Ridge on Sunday: Lib Dems could win General Election

In a clear and confident interview on Ridge on Sunday this morning, Jo Swinson staked her claim to be Prime Minister.

Any Brexit deal, she said, would be as bad for the country as the financial crash in 2008. This is why Lib Dems would be supporting amendments to give the people the final say:

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9 October 2019 – today’s press releases

  • New figures show 2.7 million EU citizens without Settled Status
  • Swinson: Millions in Britain value our place in the EU

New figures show 2.7 million EU citizens without Settled Status

The Liberal Democrats have warned that the Government is failing to guarantee the rights of all 3.6 million EU citizens in the UK, as new official figures show that fewer than 1 million people had been given Settled Status by the end of September.

The latest EU Settlement Scheme Statistics, published today by the Home Office, show that 929,600 people had been granted Settled Status by the end of September 2019 – meaning …

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7 October 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems: Govt grovelling over food standards to try and secure US trade deal
  • Swinson: Corbyn could be the block to stopping a No Deal
  • Heidi Allen joins the Liberal Democrats (see here)

Lib Dems: Govt grovelling over food standards to try and secure US trade deal

Responding to the reports from a leaked document stating that the Department for International Trade will try to lower the UK’s food standards to secure a trade deal with the United States, Liberal Democrat shadow Foreign Secretary Chuka Umunna said:

The promises made by Boris Johnson and the Conservative Government that the UK would have a whole

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Could you be Jo’s party liaison person?

There’s an interesting job advert coming up today if you fancy being the person who is the link between Jo and the party.

You need to get in quick, though – closing date is a week on Tuesday.

I like the emphasis on two way communication in the job description:

To advise the Leader on all issues relating to the internal workings of the Liberal Democrat Party, and work to ensure the Leader has a strong relationship with the wider party.

Regular interaction with state and EU Liberal Democrat parliamentary groups and their staff to ensure a two-way flow information with the Leader. Maintain a close working relationship with members of Party HQ based staff, especially the campaigns, fundraising, communications and membership departments, and the policy team.

Regular interaction with Liberal Democrats in local government – LGA, ALDC, council group leaders – to ensure a two-way flow information with the Leader.

Regularly interact with SAOs, AOs and other relevant party organisations to ensure a two-way flow information with the Leader.

Representing the Leader of the Liberal Democrats at relevant party committees, including the Federal Board.

Have a close working relationship with target seat Parliamentary candidates.

And as you would expect, the person needs to have “fabulous” communication skills and emotional intelligence.

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2 October 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Jane Dodds: Mid Wales Growth Deal funding insulting
  • Swinson: ‘Getting Brexit done’ puts lives and jobs at risk
  • Lib Dems: Johnson’s plans to create two borders ‘ludicrous’

Jane Dodds: Mid Wales Growth Deal funding insulting

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader and MP for Brecon and Radnorshire Jane Dodds has called the UK Government’s £55m funding for the Mid Wales Growth Deal insulting.

Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns used his speech to Conservative Party Conference in Manchester to announce £55m of funding for the Mid Wales Growth Deal over 15 years.

The UK Government are contributing £500m to the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal and £241m …

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Jo Swinson on Johnson’s speech: ‘Beneath the bluff & bluster, he’s determined to crash us out of the EU’

Embed from Getty Images

Commenting on PM Johnson’s Manchester speech today, Liberal Democrat leader, Jo Swinson said:

When you strip away the bluff and bluster, this was a speech by a Prime Minister who is determined to crash us out of the EU without a deal.

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WATCH: Jo Swinson say that a vote of no confidence would play into Boris Johnson’s hands

Opposition parties met today to talk strategy for the next stage of the Brexit Drama.

Over the weekend we had seen talk of a potential vote of no confidence this week.

Matthew D’Ancona explained yesterday on Twitter why this would be a mistake.

Jo Swinson has always been clear we can’t risk an election until we are certain that the threat of no deal on 31st October has been gone and it appears that she won the day.

Lib Dem MPs held a photocall outside the Commons and this is what Jo had to say:

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Jo Swinson’s message for Rosh Hashanah

Here is Jo Swinson’s message for the Jewish festival of Rosh Hashanah, emphasising that the Liberal Democrats stand with those facing hatred and discrimination.

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We must avoid being the sole obstacle to stopping a No-Deal Brexit

Boris Johnson has boxed himself into a corner – but he may not be the only one.

The prime minister has got himself into a situation where, it appears, he either has to break his promise to take us out of the EU on 31 October or break the law in terms of ignoring – or circumventing – the Benn Act that stops a no-deal Brexit. But circumventing may be an option for him; certainly the political commentators are far from confident that the Benn Act is watertight, and that at least one loophole exists.

Hence all the discussion about a vote of no confidence this week, as this may be the only way to guarantee that we avoid a No-Deal Brexit. But have our MPs perhaps also boxed themselves into a corner with their commitment to doing anything to avoiding a No-Deal Brexit yet at the same time committing not to prop up a Corbyn-led government, even a short-term one?

If the SNP and Labour are willing to support a motion of no confidence this week, it’s pretty certain the Plaid MPs and Caroline Lucas will follow suit. That would just leave the Liberal Democrats plus a handful of Independents – enoughto make the difference between success and failure.

There is a way out of this for Jo Swinson. It is for her to take the following position:

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Swinson: Parliament should be sitting so we can question PM

Responding to the Supreme Court ruling that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament for five weeks was unlawful, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson said:

The court have found what we all knew all along, Boris Johnson has again proven he is not fit to be Prime Minister.

This shutdown was an unlawful act designed to stop Parliament doing its job and holding the Government to account. Given this verdict, Parliament should be sitting so that we can continue to question the Conservative Government on their disastrous Brexit plans.

This verdict has been unanimously agreed by experienced judges who have considered the

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Labour’s own polling suggests losses in London and wipeout in Scotland

I think the Lib Dems need to declare the cost of staging Labour Conference as an election expense

So said a Labour friend of mine on Twitter in deep frustration at his party’s failure to unequivocally back Remain in chaotic scenes yesterday.

I genuinely feel for my friends in Labour who are horrified at what their party is doing. Some, like Alastair Campbell, voted Lib Dem in the European elections. I hope that they will feel able to do so at the forthcoming General Election, even  if they don’t want to say so out loud.

When a party gets it as badly wrong on the major issue of the day, the chances are that it will be punished at the ballot box and two reports suggest that this is exactly the fate awaiting Labour candidates.

And what is more bizarre is that it’s Labour’s own internal polling that is predicting the disaster.

The Scotsman reports that we and the SNP will be the beneficiaries of a Labour wipeout in Scotland:

Across the UK, only 58.7 per cent of 2017 Labour voters would stick with the party under those circumstances. The Lib Dems would take 19 per cent of the 2017 Labour vote, with 7.4 per cent going to the Greens, 3.5 per cent to the SNP, and 0.7 per cent to Plaid Cymru.

The figures are even worse in Scotland, where just 49.2 per cent of 2017 Labour voters would stick with the party. The SNP would take a fifth of Labour’s vote at the last election, with 15% going to the Lib Dems, 6% to the Brexit Party, and 3% to the Conservatives.

And the Evening Standard suggests that we will benefit from Labour’s losses in London:

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23 September 2019 – today’s press release

Swinson: Corbyn is a Brexiteer at heart

Responding to the news from Labour Party conference that it would not back Remain in a People’s Vote, under the guidance of Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson said:

Jeremy Corbyn has again shown a total lack of leadership on Brexit and settled on yet another fudge on the biggest issue facing our country. Jeremy Corbyn has repeatedly had the opportunity to put the full force of the Labour behind a Remain position, but he has once again shown today that he is a Brexiteer at heart.

He is determined to negotiate a Brexit deal if Labour win an election, despite all the evidence that there is no Brexit deal that is good for our economy, our NHS and our security. By refusing to say how the Labour Party would campaign in a second referendum, Jeremy Corbyn is letting down the millions of people who want to see the UK remain in the EU.

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WATCH: Jo Swinson’s interview with Alastair Campbell

Jo Swinson has talked to Alastair Campbell for GQ magazine. They met twice. Once on 27th August and then after the Parliamentary drama on 3-4 September.

You can watch the whole thing on You Tube:

The written transcript is here. but you need to watch the video to get the whole thing.

It’s well worth 47 minutes of your time to see a thoughtful conversation which ranges from Brexit to Scottish independence and why people are turning to the Liberal Democrats:

Tens of thousands joined the Lib Dems since the start of May because people want someone that speaks to those small “l” liberal values for opportunity, internationalism, equality, fairness, treating people as individuals.

The biggest reason she can’t deal with Boris:

I don’t think he cares! I think he really doesn’t care. What he did in the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe just makes me furious. He doesn’t seem to show any kind of remorse or feel bad about it – he says he feels anguish, but he shows no evidence of it whatsoever. All he cares about is Boris Johnson and becoming prime minister and he was prepared to say whatever it took to get him into Number Ten. One of the reasons I have stood for leadership of my party is that I think the public needs a better choice. At the next election, the offer of Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn is not good enough. That’s why I’ve set out ambitious plans for the Liberal Democrats, that we are aiming for government and I am a candidate for prime minister, because I think the country needs us to be doing that.

And why she thinks she is the best candidate for PM:

When I joined the Liberal Democrats I didn’t think that I would be sitting here today and talking about potentially becoming prime minister and running for that, but when I look at Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn, hand on heart, I am very confident I could do a better job than either of them. We have got a no-deal Brexit around the corner; we have a climate emergency that we have less than 12 years to tackle; we have got poverty in our communities; we have real problems with our politics more generally. I genuinely feel we need to make sure that the Liberal Democrats can be that home for people with liberal values who want and demand and deserve something better than either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn.

Alastair then makes the mistake of mentioning how difficult it must be for her because she has young kids:

AC: That feels very hard to me. Two young children, including your baby, taking on the leadership of a party.

JS: Hang on, did Tony Blair not have a baby when he was prime minister, I seem to recall?

AC: He did.

JS: Yeah. I mean, men do do this. It has been known.

When they met on 6th September, Alastair asked Jo if she thought Boris Johnson had fascist tendencies:

I am not going to put that label on him. You have to be careful with language. But I found the imagery of that speech in front of police officers, where he was effectively saying he might not obey the rule of law, very worrying. The juxtaposition was quite sinister. It felt rather authoritarian.

There was an interesting discussion about the risks of splitting the opposition vote:

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So that is why the fringe meetings were so jam packed

Every fringe meeting I went to or participated in at Conference was absolutely packed.

On Monday, I chaired a fringe for Shelter on the need for a massive investment in social housing.

The room was packed ten minutes before it was due to start to the extent that Shelter’s own Policy Director Chris Wood couldn’t get in.

Later that day, at another meeting, for the Smith Institute and the Affordable Housing Commission, there was, again, standing room only.

I had been a bit worried, to be honest, when we booked a huge room for our fringe meeting “What would you sacrifice to save the planet?” Paul Walter and I spent that one standing at the back because there were no seats left.

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What would you think are the odds on the Liberal Democrats winning most seats in a general election?

Given that we have 18 MPs right now, you wouldn’t expect the odds on the Liberal Democrats being the biggest party in the House of Commons to be that good.

Maybe 100-1, maybe 50-1 at best.

Well, not so much.

Look here and you’ll see a range between 9-1 and 16-1.

That reflects the fact that we have left Bournemouth with a clear path ahead.

We know that our primary objective at the moment is to stop Brexit in order to make creating the more caring, more equal society that we want to see so much easier.

We are clear that if the Liberal Democrats win a majority at the next General Election before we have left the European Union, the very first thing that Jo Swinson will do if she enters Downing Street as Prime Minister, before she even puts the kettle on, will be to revoke Article 50.

The political earthquake that it would take for us to go from 18 seats to 326 would be more than sufficient mandate.

If we don’t win an overall majority, we would go for a people’s vote with a Brexit option and the option to Remain.

Over the last few days, Jo Swinson has shown herself to be a calm, capable, infectiously enthusiastic, likeable and determined leader, surrounded by a talented team.

She has been in the job for less than 2 months and already she tops the popularity ratings.

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The Ronseal of British politics – A storming speech from Jo

Embed from Getty Images

I was “up in the gods” for Jo’s speech this afternoon in Bournemouth.

The first thing to say is that the speech seemed to me to be visually very powerful. Jo is a commanding, strong presence on stage. She stands centre stage, with no lectern or notes, barely glancing visibly at the distant autocues. Her posture and gestures are bold and decisive.

And her speech was bold and decisive.

In the round, I thought her speech was a barnstormer.

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WATCH IN FULL – Jo Swinson’s speech to conference today

Here is the ITV version of Jo’s speech:

You can also watch the Guardian version as follows, with cutaway shots, by sliding the bottom time slider to 33’31”:

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Full text – Jo Swinson’s first conference speech as leader

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Sam Gyimah MP joins party at thrilling conference rally

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I have been staggering along to more conference rallies than I care to remember. But tonight’s conference opener was the most thrilling rally I have been to.

Hard on the heels of Sal’s fantastic presidential swan song, Tim Farron was on fire as he started it.

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Jo Swinson arrives at Conference

It was a truly impressive site as Jo Swinson led a group including newly elected MEPs, key seat candidates and other key party figures such as Isabelle Parasram, our Vice President BAME down the hill in the sunshine towards the Conference Centre.

Shaffaq Mohammed, Yorkshire and the Humber MEP and HazelGrove PPC Lisa Smart were on either side of her in a group that included our own Kirsten Johnson as PPC for North Devon and Wendy Chamberlain, who is challenging for the most marginal seat in the country.

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10 September 2019 – the overnight press release

Parliament shutdown will not silence Lib Dem campaign to stop Brexit

Responding to Boris Johnson shutting down parliament, Liberal Democrat Leader Jo Swinson said:

The Liberal Democrats, along with other opposition parties, voted against the Prime Minister’s election this evening. We will not allow him to use an election to sneak through a dangerous No Deal Brexit, for which he has no mandate.

We relish the chance to take on Boris Johnson in an election, but only once Article 50 has been extended. And thanks to cross-party legislation, the Prime Minister must request an extension to Article 50 rather than crash us

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7-8 September 2019 – the weekend’s press releases

Swinson: Rudd resignation another blow to Boris Johnson

Responding to the news that Amber Rudd has quit both the cabinet and the Conservative Party, Liberal Democrat Leader Jo Swinson said:

Amber Rudd’s resignation is yet another blow to Boris Johnson and his reckless plans to crash the country out of Europe without a deal. His disregard for the country’s interest and those who are meant to be his colleagues is symbolic of how broken our politics has become.

As this Government continues to decay, the need and urgency to stop Brexit cannot be clearer – we need a people’s vote with the option

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