Katy Balls

Jo Swinson’s election nightmare

Jo Swinson's election nightmare
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The Liberal Democrats have capped off a bad campaign with a disastrous results night. The party is on course for a mere 11 seats. To put that into perspective they won 12 seats in 2017. Jo Swinson started the campaign suggesting she could be prime minister. Instead, she has lost her seat. The Lib Dem leader lost her seat of East Dunbartonshire to the SNP. Meanwhile, high profile defectors from the two main parties failed to win their seats, with Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger and Sam Gymiah all missing out. Long-standing Lib Dems have also suffered. Tom Brake lost his seat of Carshalton and Wallington to the Tories. He has held that seat since 1997.

This comes after a tricky campaign which saw the Lib Dems squeezed by Labour. The party will have much time now for some soul-searching over what exactly went wrong. However, it's been clear for a few weeks now that the party's Brexit policy of revoke put some remain voters off – it was viewed as extreme and undemocratic. Swinson also personally struggled in her media appearances which ought to have been used to give her party a much-needed boost.

So what next for the Lib Dems? The party has just announced that Ed Davey and Baroness Sal Brinton will be stand-in leaders. Who might go for the job in the long term? There had been talk that Umunna would go for it. However, given that he has failed to win a seat that seems unlikely. Layla Moran has been tipped for the role previously but said she was disinclined to go for it. Given the circumstances the party now finds itself in, she may have cause to reconsider.