Jo Swinson's Reaction To Johnson's 12 December General Election Defeat

28 October 2019, 20:42

"Forgive me for being suspicious of this Prime Minister", said Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson in a reaction to the defeat of Boris Johnson's plans for a 12th December general election.

Iain Dale said we might have an election and "the government seem to be bowing to your every demand."

"They've said that they guarantee not to bring the Withdrawal Agreement back, they're even thinking about bending on the December 12th date."

Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson said: "Well they've just said that they will publish a bill including that date which doesn't give the guarantee that we would want that they are definitely abandoning the Withdrawal Agreement Bill."

She said her party set out a clear plan yesterday which hasn't been taken up by the government, but she would also look to study this new bill as soon as possible.

"We want to stop Brexit as Liberal Democrats and we think the best way to do that is through a People's Vote, but if we cannot in this Parliament secure the numbers for that then a general election would give the public the chance to choose Remain in the European Union."

Swinson said such election would need to take place before Brexit has happened and the government could "force through" their bad deal.

Iain pointed out that it's too late for the government to force it through and asked whether Swinson was going to quibble over a few days. This was after she said she wanted a December 9 general election as opposed to a December 12 general election.

Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson says she is suspicious of both Boris Johnson and the Labour opposition
Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson says she is suspicious of both Boris Johnson and the Labour opposition. Picture: PA

"Forgive me for being suspicious of this Prime Minister and indeed of the Labour opposition because they've both promised many things that they haven't delivered.

"I don't put it past them to have a few days and still try to force something through which is why I very clearly put forward the plan which would have passed the bill to hold a general election and then dissolved Parliament immediately. So that assurance is still not being secured.

"But we will of course continue to discuss with other parties, we will continue to look at what's been published and obviously there will be further debate tomorrow in the House of Commons."

Iain asked Swinson if she thought we will be at the start of an election campaign this time tomorrow.

She said she didn't know and continued: "I certainly can tell you that if the government was to give time tomorrow for the bill, that the Liberal Democrats and the SMP published yesterday, then we would be obviously supporting that bill.

"And if the government is serious about wanting a general election then that route is still open to them. So perhaps they will think better of their current plan for going for the 12th overnight and come forward with something which can give everybody confidence and go into that general election campaign."

She said she would relish the chance to take the Lib Dem message to the country.

Iain asked: "How confident are you of holding your own seat because it is quite marginal, isn't it?"

Swinson said: "I'm never going to take voters for granted but I've got majority of 5000, which is the largest majority I've had as an MP. I'm confident that I do a good job for the people of East Dunbartonshire and that's the feedback that I get.

So I look forward to taking that message out as I will be across the country, but also, of course, in my own constituency of East Dunbartonshire."