Ed Davey replaces Jo Swinson as Lib Dem Westminster leader

13 December 2019, 06:27

Ed Davey will replace Jo Swinson
Ed Davey will replace Jo Swinson. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Following the loss of her seat to the SNP Jo Swinson will now be replaced by Ed Davey as leader of the Lib Dems in Westminster.

The Liberal Democrat leader's defeat was the biggest shock of the night, narrowly losing her Dunbartonshire East seat to the SNP's Amy Callaghan by 149 votes.

The party confirmed on Friday morning that Ed Davey MP and Baroness Sal Brinton will become the joint acting leaders of the Liberal Democrats. A leadership election will take place in the new year.

Sal Brinton, President of the Liberal Democrats said: “I want to thank Jo Swinson for her honest and fearless leadership of the Liberal Democrats.

“In this election, we gained more votes than in 2017 and we have been joined by many new MPs.

“In the weeks ahead we will elect a new leader and our party will continue to be the rallying point for anyone who believes in a country where everyone has the chance to get on in life."

While outgoing party leader, Jo Swinson said: "Tonight's result is obviously hugely disappointing, in East Dunbartonshire, and across the whole country with Boris Johnson winning a majority.

"I am proud that in this campaign, the Liberal Democrats have stood up for openness, generosity and hope. We were honest about what we believe in and what we were trying to achieve.

“This is clearly a setback for liberal values. But there are millions of people across the country who believe in them. By coming together to fight for them, we can create a positive future."

Defeated Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson said she lost her seat to the SNP after a "wave of nationalism" swept politics on both sides of the border.

Ms Swinson was ousted in East Dunbartonshire by the SNP's Amy Callaghan, who took just 149 votes more.

While the SNP won seats from Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats in Scotland, south of the border Boris Johnson's Conservatives appeared to be on track for a large Westminster majority.

Meanwhile Ms Callaghan told BBC Scotland she was "delighted" to have unseated the Liberal Democrat leader - who at the start of the election campaign had declared she was running to be the next prime minister.

The new MP said: "It's quite a momentous achievement, both for me personally but also in terms of the people of East Dunbartonshire, completely rejecting the politics of austerity and also giving the people a chance to choose their own future, I think that is incredibly important."