Swinson will take the party to greater heights – Scottish Lib Dem leader

Jo Swinson will take the Liberal Democrats to to “greater heights” after being newly elected to head the party, the Scottish Liberal Democrat leader said.

The East Dunbartonshire MP and deputy leader won beat rival Sir Ed Davey to win the leadership contest by 47,997 to 28,021.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: “Jo Swinson is the fresh, positive new leader who will take the Liberal Democrats to greater heights by reaching out to new groups of voters and building on the success of recent elections.

“Jo provides a stark contrast between the indecisive Jeremy Corbyn and chaotic Boris Johnson and will lead the country away from the forces of populism and nationalism.

“Jo is not tribal and will work with others to stop Brexit, stop independence and build a country that is richer, cleaner and greener.”

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The SNP congratulated the party’s first female leader on her victory, but called on her to rule out any future pacts with the Conservatives and “apologise” for cuts made under the previous Lib Dem-Tory coalition.

SNP MP Mhairi Black said: “Jo Swinson was one of the most enthusiastic cheerleaders for the Tory coalition government.

“She must move quickly to apologise for the devastating cuts she imposed, and rule out any future Tory pact – if she wants anyone to believe the Lib Dems have changed their ways.

“People haven’t forgotten that it was the Lib Dems who trebled university tuition fees to £9,000 a year, scrapped the Education Maintenance Allowance, introduced the bedroom tax, imposed the cap on public sector pay, and the damaging cuts to social security for disabled people.

“While the SNP has consistently opposed Tory cuts, the Lib Dems enabled the worst of them – pushing millions of people into poverty and inequality, and forcing families to rely on food banks and emergency aid to feed their children.”