Jo Swinson MP won’t be Lib Dems’ next leader

Jo Swinson.
Jo Swinson.

Newly-elected East Dunbartonshire MP Jo Swinson has announced she won’t stand for the leadership of the Liberal Democrats, despite overwhelming backing.

She has said she is “touched and flattered” by support from colleagues, but wants to stand for the post of deputy leader instead,

The MP became front runner for the Lib Dems’ top job soon after leader Tim Farron said he was going to quit over difficulties he had squaring political readership with his Christian convictions.

During the election he had difficulty answering questions about his views on gay sex and abortion.

Ms Swinson, (37), ousted as East Dunbartonshire MP in 2015 by SNP man John Nicholson, defeated him in turn in the June 8 General Election to become one of four Scottish Liberal Democrat MPs.

She is said to have gained 57 per cent support from party colleagues for the leadership role, far ahead of any other candidate, but said yesterday she did not want the job.

Announcing she would stand for the deputy leadership instead, she said she had spent years encouraging women to go for major career advancement - and that often they don’t when they should.

But at the same time she said she had seen men going for promotion ill-advisedly, and that “just because a man would do it doesn’t make it the right thing to do”.

However remarks she has made about planning for a marathon have been taken by some as an indication she doesn’t think the timing is right, but may consider running for the leadership at some point in the future.

If no other candidates for deputy leader are posted by tomorrow she will be returned unopposed.

The remaining front runners for the leadership are widely tipped as being Sir Ed Davey, Sir Vince Cable and Norman Lamb.