Defeated Jo Swinson: I don’t regret being the voice of Remain
Jo Swinson has said she is “proud” of the Liberal Democrats' pro-Remain stance despite a disappointing showing in the general election which saw her lose her seat.
Ms Swinson stood down as party leader on Friday morning after she lost her East Dunbartonshire seat to the Tories by 149 votes.
She has held the role for only five months, having succeeded Sir Vince Cable as leader in July 2019.
Speaking in London on Friday afternoon, Ms Swinson said: “I’m proud that the Liberal Democrats have been the unapologetic voice of Remain in this election, giving people the chance to choose to stop Brexit.”
“Obviously, it has not worked. I’m devastated about that, but I don’t regret trying.”
She also said she was proud to have been the Lib Dems’ first female leader, and praised the party’s “fantastic” new MPs who she said would “take the Commons by storm”.
Despite losing their leader, the Lib Dems managed to elect 11 MPs to the Commons last night, seven of whom were women.
Speaking about the challenges of being a female politician, she said it was hard being herself “whether people attacked my vision or my voice, my ideas or my earrings".
And she added: “One of the realities of smashing glass ceilings is that a lot of broken glass comes down on your head.”
Ms Swinson also spoke about the country’s political climate, claiming the UK “is in the grips of populism” with “nationalism resurgent in all its forms”.
But, she ended on a message of hope, saying: “There will be a way out of this nationalist surge, and we have to work together to find it.”
Deputy leader Ed Davey and party president Baroness Sal Brinton have been named as interim co-leaders in Ms Swinson's place until a new Lib Dem leader can be selected next year.