Jo Swinson announced as new leader of the Liberal Democrats
Jo Swinson has been announced as leader of the Liberal Democrats, taking over from Vince Cable.
Swinson, 39, is the first woman to lead the Lib Dems.
Party members voted overwhelmingly for her to take over from outgoing leader Cable. Swinson won 47,900 votes while her only rival for the top job, Ed Davey, won just 28,021. Turnout was 72 percent.
Swinson told party members, who were assembled in central London, that she was “over the moon” to have been elected leader.
I’m “ready for the fight of our lives,” she said, promising to do “whatever it takes to stop Brexit.”
“I stand before you today not just as leader of the Lib Dems, but as a candidate to be prime minister. There is no limit for my ambition for our party, our movement and our country,” Swinson said.
“I am ready to take my party into a general election and win it.”
I love this party, and I’m excited and humbled to be chosen as our next leader. Huge thanks to my friend @EdwardJDavey for a contest that showed the country the very best of us.
— Jo Swinson (@joswinson) July 22, 2019
Swinson was previously the junior equalities minister during the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government of 2010-2015, and had been deputy leader of the Lib Dems since June 2017.
Jo Swinson on LGBT+ rights
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“I promise to lead us in campaigning at every opportunity in making sure no-one faces discrimination, prejudice or disadvantage because of their sexuality or gender identity,” Swinson wrote for PinkNews on July 5.
“We have always been the leading party in the fight against discrimination and I will make sure we continue to be so. Now more than ever, it is time for politics of compassion and co-operation to come forward. And that’s just what I offer to LGBT+ people in our communities today,” she wrote.
In her PinkNews article, Swinson said that LGBT+ inclusive sex education should be mandatory in schools. She also said that trans people should be able to legally change their gender without jumping through “medicalised hoops.”
“I would champion trans, non-binary, genderfluid, and self-defined gender identities – making clear that there is no equality or liberty without defending the rights of everyone,” she said.
“Trans people should be able to legally change their gender without the current medicalised hoops to jump through; their own experience should be enough.”
Swinson was first elected an MP in 2005. Since then, according to vote-tracking website TheyWorkForYou, she has voted consistently in favour of equal rights for LGBT+ people – including voting for same-sex marriage in 2013.