Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson loses her seat by just 149 votes

PUBLISHED: 03:48 13 December 2019 | UPDATED: 04:46 13 December 2019

Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson reacts as she loses her East Dumbartonshire constituency. Photograph: Jane Barlow/PA Wire.

Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson reacts as she loses her East Dumbartonshire constituency. Photograph: Jane Barlow/PA Wire.

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson has lost her seat in East Dunbartonshire.

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In a bruising night for the anti-Brexit party, which has failed to win the gains it had hoped, the party's leader lost her Scottish seat to the Scottish Nationalist Party by just 149 votes.

Swinson had a majority of just 5,339 votes, which was overturned by Amy Callaghan.

Callaghan pipped the Lib Dem leader to the seat with 19,672 votes compared to Swinson's 19,532 votes.

Swinson has started the election campaign with the claim she could be the next prime minister, but quickly scaled back ambitions.

She wanted to be known as leader of the self-styled "Remain Alliance" of anti-Brexit parties after taking the controversial policy stance that the Lib Dems would kill any attempt at EU withdrawal without the need for another referendum.

She became her party's first female leader in a landslide victory over Sir Ed Davey earlier this year, after the lacklustre leaderships of Tim Farron and Sir Vince Cable.

She had served as a minister in the coalition government and was among the party's MPs who paid the price for the tie-up with David Cameron's Tories in the 2015 election bloodbath - which saw the Lib Dems reduced to a rump of just eight in the Commons.

She fought back when prime minister Theresa May called another election in 2017, regaining her Scottish seat from the SNP.

In a speech at the election count Swinson said for millions of people these results "will bring dread and dismay, and people are looking for hope".

She congratulated her rival Amy Callaghan, telling the SNP campaigner: "It is an amazing job, I'm sure you will love doing it and I wish you well and what you said about young women and smashing boundaries I wholeheartedly agree."

She said she would be making a further speech later today.

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