Jo Swinson has opened up about her late father in an interview, describing how his memory drives her on as she campaigns in the general election.
In an ITV interview set to be broadcast in full this evening, the Liberal Democrat leader had to pause and take a breath when her father Peter, who passed away last year, was brought up.
Interviewer Ranvir Singh first asked her about what it meant to have become both the youngest ever Lib Dem party leader, and its first female leader.
“Well I’m a feminist, so it’s obviously always a joy when another glass ceiling is broken,” replied Swinson.
The interviewer then asked her how she felt about Peter, who died of blood cancer, not being around to see her achieve that milestone.
“Yeah, he’d have loved it,” said Swinson, losing her voice slightly and reaching for a glass of water.
She agreed when interviewer Singh suggested she must be thinking about Peter “a lot” while she campaigns. Appearing to gather herself, she said “sorry” under her breath and nodded her head to take more questions.
“What would he have been saying to you on a tough day?” asked Singh.
“He’d have just said: go for it,” she said, nodding and smiling.
Swinson is making a concerted effort to fight back against discouraging poll results, which suggested her party is on course to end up with 13 seats in the election – a far cry from the prime ministerial ambitions she launched with, and far less than even revised expectations as the campaign has worn on.
MORE: Polling suggests Boris Johnson could win majority – but there’s one thing that could stop itShe has now attempted to fight back with a highly personalised attack on the character failings of Boris Johnson, accusing him of being unfit for No. 10.
The leader chastised Johnson for numerous instances of “Etonian entitlement”, including his treatment of women.
“Whether it is the sexist, patronising crap of comparing elite women athletes to wet otters, or him bragging about patting his female boss on the bottom … this man isn’t someone our sons can look up to, that our daughters can have faith in,” she said.
These accusations were compounded by the unearthing of misogynistic and sexist commentary made by Johnson as a Spectator columnist.
Reacting to the much-anticipated YouGov MRP poll, Swinson said: “What this poll shows is that there are 134 seats where either the Liberal Democrats are in first or second place as things stand.
“That shows there’s a huge amount to play for.”