Who is Jo Swinson? First female Liberal Democrat leader succeeding Sir Vince Cable s?

JO Swinson is the first female Liberal Democrats leader – and their youngest ever.

She has vowed to "cancel" Brexit if her party gets into power  – but came under fire when her voting record came to light, showing she had backed a referendum. Here's more about the Lib Dem leader.

Who is Jo Swinson?

The 39-year-old is MP for East Dunbartonshire and a former equalities minister in the Coalition Government.

She was born in the west coast of Scotland and was educated at a comprehensive before studying at the London School of Economics.

After graduating with a first class degree in Management, she worked for a radio station in Hull.

A member of the Liberal Democrats since the age of 17, Swinson unsuccessfully stood for Parliament at the 2001 General Election, but was elected in 2005.

At the time she was the youngest MP in the House of Commons and went on to become a junior employment minister in David Cameron’s Government.

She was one of 28 Lib Dem MPs who voted for tuition fees.

She lost her seat at the 2015 general election to the SNP but won it back in 2017.

Swinson was the Lib Dem's Spokesperson for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs until she became leader of the party.

She is a staunch supporter of a second referendum on EU membership and has said: "Every Liberal Democrat vote is a vote to stop Brexit."

Jo Swinson's husband is former MP, Duncan Hames.

The pair married in a humanist ceremony in 2011, and have two children together.

Jo Swinson is set to be interviews by Andrew Neil on the BBC tomorrow in his series of interviews with the party leaders ahead of the General Election next Thursday.

What has Jo Swinson said about stopping Brexit?

Swinson said on September 15: “If people give a majority to a stop Brexit party, then yes stopping Brexit is exactly what they’ll get, we’ll revoke Article 50.”

She told the Andrew Marr Show: "We have argued that a specific Brexit deal should be put to a People's Vote to give clarity.

"We still argue for that. But if we end up at a general election then I think we need to be straight forward with people and give them an option for all this Brexit chaos to stop.

"I recognise not everyone agrees with the Lib Dems on this. (But) it is genuinely what we think is right for the country."

What is Jo Swinson's voting record?

Jo Swinson came under fire when it was revealed that she had previously backed a referendum.

Footage was shared on social media of Swinson saying: "The Liberal Democrats would like to have a referendum on the major issue of whether we are in or out of Europe."

Footage showed Jo Swinson in 2008 demanding an “in or out referendum” on Britain’s membership of the EU, eight years before the vote on the EU took place.

The video surfaced after Swinson claimed she didn't "forgive" David Cameron for calling the EU referendum at a recent Liberal Democrats party conference.

What did Jo Swinson say in her first speech as leader?

Swinson paid tribute to previous leader Vince Cable.

She said that the "two old parties have failed" over Brexit.

She said: “This is the time for working together, not the time for tribalism.

“And my message to MPs in other parties who share our values is this: if you believe our country deserves better, that we can stop Brexit, that we can stop Johnson, Farage and Corbyn, then work with us, join us. My door is always open.”

She also criticised Boris Johnson saying he is not "fit to be Prime Minister".

When did Jo Swinson become the leader of the Liberal Democrats?

The official results were announced on July 22, 2019, with Swinson receiving more than 50 per cent of the vote.

She said she was "over the moon" to have been elected and was "ready for the fight of our lives".

Swinson took over from former Lib Dem leader, Sir Vince Cable and saw off former Energy Secretary Sir Ed Davey, who had also put his name in the ring.

Lib Dem leadership candidates must be an MP supported by at least 200 members spread across at least 20 different local parties.

They must also have the backing of 10 per cent of the parliamentary party, which currently stands at 11 MPs.

She said: “This country is crying out for a liberal movement that will challenge the forces of nationalism and populism.

“The Liberal Democrats need to be at the heart of that movement and I'm the person to lead it".

A YouGov poll which asked voters what party they would back if a general election was held now, was topped by the Lib Dems on 24 per cent, ahead of the Brexit Party on 22 per cent.

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