Jo Swinson will not contest Lib Dem leadership


Jo Swinson.

A Lib Dem MP tipped to become the party’s next leader has ruled herself out of the race.

Jo Swinson, who regained her East Dunbartonshire seat at the general election, had been the bookies’ favourite to replace Tim Farron.

But she said she would seek to become deputy leader instead.

Mr Farron quit last week, saying he was “torn between living as a faithful Christian and serving as a political leader”.

  • Lib Dem leadership runners and riders

In a blogpost, Ms Swinson, a former equalities minister, said she had been “overwhelmed” by messages urging her to stand as his replacement.

“Being the leader of a political party is a unique and all-encompassing job, even more than the roles of MP and minister that I have undertaken before,” she said.

“It should not be done simply to achieve status, to make a point, or to please others.”

Ms Swinson said her “reflections and conversations about a range of factors” had persuaded her to go for the deputy leadership instead.

She wrote: “Feminist that I am, I have of course wondered what a bloke in my position would do. It’s obvious.

“Most blokes in my shoes would run for leader like a shot.

“It’s true that my many years of encouraging women to have the confidence to go for that exciting new role have taught me that women often don’t go for things when they should.”

But she added: “Just because a man would do it, doesn’t make it the right thing to do.”

Former ministers Sir Ed Davey and Norman Lamb are expected to contest the leadership, and former business secretary Sir Vince Cable has not ruled it out.