Jo Swinson blames ‘wave of nationalism’ as Lib Dem leader loses seat

Defeated Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson said she lost her seat to the SNP after a “wave of nationalism” swept politics on both sides of the border.

Ms Swinson was ousted in East Dunbartonshire by the SNP’s Amy Callaghan, who took just 149 votes more.

While the SNP won seats from Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats in Scotland, south of the border Boris Johnson’s Conservatives appeared to be on track for a large Westminster majority.

With her leadership of the Liberal Democrats now in question, Ms Swinson said she would make a further statement later on Friday.

Speaking at the count in Bishopbriggs, outside Glasgow, she said: “These are very significant results for the future of our country and I will be making further remarks later today.

“But let me say now, for millions of people in our country these results will bring dread and dismay and people are looking for hope.

“I still believe we as a country can be warm and generous, inclusive and open and that by working together with our nearest neighbours we can achieve so much more.

Amy Callaghan and Jo Swinson
Jo Swinson, second right, lost her seat to Amy Callaghan, second left (Jane Barlow/PA)

“Liberal Democrats will continue to stand up for these values that guide our Liberal movement – openness, fairness, inclusivity. We will stand up for hope.”

Meanwhile Ms Callaghan told BBC Scotland she was “delighted” to have unseated the Liberal Democrat leader – who at the start of the election campaign had declared she was running to be the next prime minister.

The new MP said: “It’s quite a momentous achievement, both for me personally but also in terms of the people of East Dunbartonshire, completely rejecting the politics of austerity and also giving the people a chance to choose their own future, I think that is incredibly important.”

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