Jo Swinson loses Dunbartonshire East seat to SNP

13 December 2019, 03:47

Jo Swinson reacts to the news she lost her seat
Jo Swinson reacts to the news she lost her seat. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson has lost her Dunbartonshire East seat to the Scottish National Party.

Ms Swinson suffered a narrow defeat in her parliamentary seat, losing by just 149 votes to the SNP's Amy Callaghan.

The Lib Dem leader confirmed she would "be making further remarks later today" after she lost in her constituency.

Speaking from the count, she said: "Some will be celebrating the wave of nationalism that is sweeping on both sides of the border.

"And I do congratulate all those who are newly elected. These are very significant results for the future of our country and I will be making further remarks later today."

She then congratulated her SNP rival, saying: "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."

The Lib Dem leader thanked her family and party for their support.

Her position had been described as "on a knife edge" prior to the announcement.

The turnout in East Dunbartonshire was more than 80 per cent, which was significantly higher than the 62 per cent average for seats declared so far.

Click here to keep up to date with all the latest on the general election results on our live blog.

Ms Swinson began her party's election campaign with the claim she could be the next prime minister, but in the end she failed to hold her own seat.

The former MP for East Dunbartonshire wanted to be known as leader of the self-styled "Remain Alliance" of anti-Brexit parties.

Jo Swinson has lost her seat to the SNP
Jo Swinson has lost her seat to the SNP. Picture: Sky News

Her most controversial policy of the campaign was to revoke Article 50 without a second referendum.

Ms Swinson, 39, became her party's first female leader in a landslide victory over Sir Ed Davey earlier this year, following the leaderships of Tim Farron and Sir Vince Cable.

She served as a minister in the coalition Government and was among the MPs who paid the price for the relationship 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.

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

She also made history when she became the first MP to take her baby into a Commons debate when she took her second son Gabriel into a discussion on proxy voting in September 2018.

The former public relations specialist married ex-Lib Dem MP Duncan Hames, who lost his seat at the 2015 general election, in 2011.

She was made a CBE for political and public service, and has has also written a book, Equal Power.

While the Liberal Democrats started the General Election campaign strongly, Ms Swinson soon attracted criticism from some quarters both for the policy of revoking Brexit and for her previous record in coalition government.