Jo Swinson to become next leader of the Liberal Democrats

PUBLISHED: 16:28 22 July 2019 | UPDATED: 10:42 23 July 2019

Jo Swinson has been named the leader of the Liberal Democrats. Picture: Leon Neal/Getty Images

Jo Swinson has been named the leader of the Liberal Democrats. Picture: Leon Neal/Getty Images

2019 Getty Images

Jo Swinson has been elected to take over from Sir Vince Cable as the next leader of the Liberal Democrats.

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She was selected by party members by a lead of almost 20,000 votes.

As the bookmakers' favourite and having served as Sir Vince's deputy since June 2017, Swinson's successful leadership bid has not come as a suprise.

The East Dunbartonshire MP and current party deputy will be the first female leader of the party since the founding of its forerunner, the Liberal Party, in 1859.

A record number of party members, 76,429, voted in the leadership election. Swinson's leadership rival Ed Davey secured 28,021 of their votes.

Swinson entered the House of Commons in 2005 as the 'Baby of the House', the youngest MP, and served as a parliamentary private secretary and a business minister in David Cameron's coalition government.

Like her leadership rival Sir Ed Davey, she lost her seat in 2015 before regaining it in 2017.

A July poll suggested that Swinson, who campaigned on a green and 'stop Brexit' platform, would tie with Boris Johnson if an election were called before Brexit.

MORE: Jo Swinson would tie with Boris Johnson in the event of a pre-Brexit election

The new Lib Dem leader stands to inherit a party on the rise in the polls on the back of its trenchant anti-Brexit positioning. After the defection of Chuka Umunna to the Liberal Democrats from the Independent Group for Change, the party now has 12 MPs. They won 20% of the vote share in the European elections, bringing the party's count of MEPs to 16. The party also enjoyed a boost during the local council elections.

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Swinson has suggested that if Boris Johnson enters Number 10, and is committed to Brexit on October 31 with or without a deal then the Lib Dems could be boosted even further. On accepting the leadership, she told the party to get ready for "the fight of our lives".

She has said that she would put up joint candidates who support a second referendum, and would potentially support Labour on a vote-by-vote basis parliament.

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