Swinson says Heseltine backing for Lib Dems shows how ‘extreme’ Johnson is

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson has welcomed Lord Heseltine’s backing for her party as she branded Prime Minister Boris Johnson “extreme”.

The comments came after the former deputy prime minister urged people to vote Lib Dem or for ex-Tory MPs standing as independents in the General Election as the best way to secure a second Brexit referendum.

During a campaign visit to Cornwall, Ms Swinson said: “Michael Heseltine is a hugely respected Conservative former cabinet minister, and I think it kind of says a huge amount about where the current Conservative Party is under Boris Johnson with their deal with Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party.

“That people like Michael Heseltine are recommending that you should vote Liberal Democrat, I mean that tells you how extreme Boris Johnson has become.

“He is proposing a hard, hard Brexit that will make Nigel Farage happy.

“That’s not going to be good for our country.”

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson
Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson

Ms Swinson also attacked Jeremy Corbyn’s stance on anti-Semitism after the Labour leader was strongly criticised on the issue by Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis.

The Lib Dem leader said: “I think it is hugely worrying that the Chief Rabbi has felt compelled to make such an intervention in an election.

“It speaks volumes about the genuine fear that people in the Jewish community feel about Jeremy Corbyn and his inability to tackle anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.

“I think all of us whatever our religion, or none, whatever our race, we should take very seriously the concerns of a community within our country that is genuinely feeling unsafe.

“And think about what that says about our politics that that is because of the actions of the leader of a mainstream party.”

Ms Swinson was in Cornwall to push the party’s environmental policies.

The UK produces 2.26 million tonnes of plastic packaging every year, but less than half of this is being recycled.

Liberal Democrats are declaring a war on plastic, so that we can ensure a #BrighterFuture for our planet. See the plan here > https://t.co/2QuWhk2Catpic.twitter.com/zffMTbtypX

— Liberal Democrats (@LibDems) November 26, 2019

She toured the workshop of surfing firm Finisterre, in St Agnes. The Cornish business creates sustainable surfing gear.

The Lib Dems said if they gain power they will require all retailers to reduce the amount of plastics and non-recyclable packaging they use.

They would also implement a deposit return scheme and end plastic exports abroad by 2030.