Jo Swinson, MP for East Dunbartonshire, has been elected as the new leader of the Liberal Democrats today and will replace Sir Vince Cable. She received 47,900 votes, compared to Sir Ed Davey’s 28,021, on a turnout of 72%.
Speaking after the result was announced, Swinson said was “delighted and over the moon” to be elected as the first female leader of the Lib Dems and claimed “liberalism is alive and thriving”.
Commenting on the news, Labour Party chair Ian Lavery said: “Jo Swinson sat at the top table of the coalition government and voted for vicious attacks on the most vulnerable and tax cuts for the super-rich and big businesses.
“Austerity couldn’t have happened without the Liberal Democrats – leading to shocking levels of child poverty, the tripling of tuition fees, a homelessness crisis and rising food bank use. Labour is the only party that can stop the Tories, and transform Britain so that it works for the many not the few.”
The new Lib Dem leader served as a minister in the Tory-Lib Dem coalition government and supported the austerity agenda throughout that parliament. At a hustings during the leadership campaign, both Swinson and Davey said they did not accept that austerity was “the wrong economic policy in 2010”.
Swinson voted to increase university tuition fees to £9,000 a year, to reduce local government funding, to lower corporation tax, for the bedroom tax, in favour of legal aid cuts, and consistently against higher benefits for those unable to work due to illness or disability.
Although green issues were central to both of the Lib Dem candidates’ campaigns, Swinson voted against measures that would have restricted fracking activity in 2015 and against slowing the rise in rail fares under the coalition government.