Jo Swinson will liken Boris Johnson to a dictator in leader’s speech at Lib Dem conference

Jo Swinson during the Liberal Democrats autumn conference. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire.

Jo Swinson during the Liberal Democrats autumn conference. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson is will liken Boris Johnson to a dictator during her speech at party conference.

The East Dunbartonshire MP is set to close her party's four-day conference in Bournemouth with stinging criticism of the prime minister and his pursuit of a no-deal Brexit.

Swinson is set to condemn Johnson for sacking 21 Tory rebels - one of whom, Sam Gyimah MP, has since joined the Lib Dems - and his decision to suspend parliament for almost five weeks with the Halloween Brexit deadline looming.

The former minister is preparing to say: "Silencing critics, purging opponents, ignoring the law - for someone who proclaims to hate socialist dictators, he's doing a pretty good impression of one."

She will also brand Johnson's spend on no-deal preparations "sickening".

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"The truth is you can't plan for no deal. Planning for no deal is like planning to burn your house down. You might have insurance, but you're still going to lose all your stuff."

Swinson predicts that Brexit would "hurt" the country's economy - one of the core reasons the party this week agreed to adopt cancelling Britain's EU exit if it wins power at the next election.

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"The first task is clear. We must stop Brexit.

"And we are crystal clear: a Liberal Democrat majority government will revoke Article 50 on day one because there is no Brexit that will be good for our country.

"Brexit will put lives at risk. Brexit will hurt our economy. This Brexiteer government wants to pay for their ideology with other people's jobs."

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is also expected to come under fire, with Swinson set to accuse him of continuing to hold on to Eurosceptic views.

"Even now, when faced with all the clear and obvious dangers that Brexit brings, Jeremy Corbyn still insists that if Labour win a general election, they will negotiate their own Brexit deal to take us out of the EU," she will say.

"Nigel Farage might be Brexit by name, but it is very clear that Jeremy Corbyn is Brexit by nature."

Swinson has said the Liberal Democrats are in talks with other parties about standing aside in certain seats at the next general election to ensure that pro-Remain candidates are elected but rules out the prospect of the party standing down for Labour candidates.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme, Swinson said that such an agreement had worked well previously, including in the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election last month where Jane Dodds was elected as a new MP for the party.

Asked whether the party would stand aside for Labour candidates, the Lib Dem leader said: "That's a different question because Labour are not a remain party, Labour are trying to deliver a Labour Brexit.

"But where we agree with others on stopping Brexit, we are in those discussions.

Swinson added: "They (Labour) want to deliver a Labour Brexit, they've been very clear about that, they've said they're not a remain party.

"I'm a Liberal Democrat, I'm about stopping Brexit, I'm about keeping our place in the European Union, so I want to make sure that people have the choice to vote for a remain candidate who will stop Brexit and therefore, standing down for Labour doesn't achieve that."

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