The bookies were right – Jo Swinson MP has become the next leader of the Liberal Democrats, beating off Sir Ed Davey for the role.
This leadership election was obviously overshadowed by the Conservative leadership contest and as one of the minor political parties in both the UK and Scottish Parliaments there is currently a limit to the impact this party could make although that may change soon.
As the fourth largest political party in Westminster, the Lib Dem’s 12 MPs could prove crucial for a new Tory Prime Minister – whether a new general election takes place or not. The only constant about the Lib Dems is their desire to jump into Ministerial Mondeos – despite being slaughtered at the polls for being the Tory coalition partners in the past, Jo Swinson has indicated it’s a role she’s willing to take again. She’s made it clear that the only party she’ll work with in Westminster is the Tories. That’s hardly surprising when you see her voting record – to all intents and purposes she is a Tory in disguise (and not much of one at that).
And if her voting record isn’t bad enough, let’s not forget her championing the campaign to build a statue for Thatcher! I don’t think any of this will go down well in Scotland where her party stagnates in fifth place with only 4 MSPs across the whole of Scotland (and potentially down to 3 if they lose the upcoming by election).
It’s true that Swinson did win back her seat from the SNP in 2017 but a lot of questions were raised about the amount of money spent by the Lib Dem campaign, with serious concern that her campaign broke spending guidelines (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-40959614).
Of course, the big question that Swinson has failed to adequately answer is why her party fully supports and campaigns for a 2nd Euro Referendum but are vehemently opposed to a 2nd Scottish Independence Referendum.