Lib Dem Ed Davey slams Nicola Sturgeon for 'gleeful' response to Jo Swinson losing seat

Posted On: 
15th December 2019

Senior Liberal Democrat Sir Ed Davey has hit out at Nicola Sturgeon for reacting with "glee" to the defeat of Jo Swinson

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon was filmed celebrating Jo Swinson's election defeat.
Credit: 
Sky News

The interim Lib Dem boss said it had not been "appropriate" for the Scottish First Minister to celebrate her party snatching the East Dunbartonshire seat from Ms Swinson.

Ms Swinson - who led the Liberal Democrats for less than six months before losing her seat on Thursday night - has already quit as leader and handed over the reins to Sir Ed and party president Sal Brinton while the party seeks a new head.

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Ms Sturgeon, whose SNP made a string of gains in Scotland, was caught on live TV wildly celebrating Ms Swinson's defeat.

But Sir Ed took aim at the SNP leader over the response. 

Speaking to Sky News' Sophy Ridge, the senior Lib Dem said: "She's not very dignified is she? And I think that approach to politics - taking glee in someone else's defeat, in the way that she does, a very personal way - isn't appropriate for the First Minister of Scotland."

Ms Sturgeon's reaction to the result has already been branded "graceless and nasty" by Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage.

The SNP leader on Friday admitted she had  "got overexcited" and sent her "commiserations" to Ms Swinson.

She said: "On a personal level, I really do feel for her, but of course I can't help but be delighted by the performance of my party this evening."

Sir Ed told Sky News that the Lib Dems were "deeply upset and disappointed" by the loss of Ms Swinson as their leader - as he hinted that the party would try to ensure a return to Parliament.

"Jo was a friend and a colleague and I want her back in Parliament as soon as possible," he said.

"Jo has so much to offer British politics. And you know, our thoughts are with her and her family.

"But we know that she has a bright future and we thank her for what she did. And I hope that we can ensure that what she argued for and her legacy in the Brexit issue, we can continue."

He also defended the party's decision to push a policy of revoking Article 50, which would have cancelled Brexit altogether, and said the Lib Dems had had no choice but to agree to an election in the face of Parliamentary wrangling over Boris Johnson's EU agreement. 

"The dilemma was this: we had tried time and time again to get a People's Vote, to get a referendum so that people could have the final say," he said,

"We had seventeen attempts at that. But unfornutately the Labour Party didn't shop up in the numbers that were required. 

"And therefore we were then faced with the Boris Johnson withdrawal bill, getting a majority with 19 Labour MPs supporting it. 

"And there was a real fear that that Withdrawal Agreement would get through the House of Commons. 

"So the dilemma was this: Do we have an election after Britain had legally withdrawn from the EU with the withdrawal act or did we have one before? That was the choice."