Joanna Swinson is a British politician who has been the Leader of the Liberal Democrats since July 2019. She is the first woman and the youngest politician to hold the position. She has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for East Dunbartonshire since 2017, having previously held the seat between 2005 and 2015. The 39-year-old won approximately 62% of  the overall vote in a leadership contest against parliamentary veteran, Sir Ed Davey.

But, who is the new Political Leader? Here is everything you need to know about her political history, what she stands for, her promise as a new leader and her continuous charity work for causes close to her heart.

Political history

Entering Parliament at 25 years old, she was the youngest member in the House of Commons, and was given the unofficial title of ‘baby of the house’ until 2009.

She was a Business Minister and Minister for Women and Equalities in the Coalition Government (2012-2015). In the 2015 elections, she lost her seat to the SNP’s John Nicolson, and won it back during the 2017 snap election. She was the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats from 2017 until 2019, when appointed the Leader of the Party.

What does she stand for?

Her political interests include foreign affairs, political engagement, quality of life and wellbeing, climate change, allergy and body image.

As an MP, Swinson has worked to increase jobs locally, successfully supported the Milngavie community against Tesco’s inappropriate store expansion, championed the views of the local community against the Lower Kilmardinny Development and fought against Labour’s local Post Office closures.

As a Minister, Swinson introduced shared parental leave, extended flexible working rights, clamped down on unscrupulous payday lenders, increased penalties on employers failing to pay workers the minimum wage, improved corporate reporting, introduced new rights for consumers buying online, created the Groceries Code Adjudicator to improve supermarkets’ treatment of suppliers and won government support to bring in gender pay gap reporting.

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She has also been outspoken in backing a second referendum and made Brexit a focal point in her victory speech, stating: “I will do whatever it takes to stop Brexit… Boris Johnson is likely to take the keys to Number 10 and set us on a path to a damaging no-deal Brexit… Stopping Boris, and stopping Brexit is my number one priority as leader.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat Politician, Willie Rennie, stated: “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.”

A YouGov poll which asked voters what party they would back if a general election was held now, was topped by the Liberal Democrats on 24%, ahead of the Brexit Party on 22%.

Personal Life

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Jo Swinson is married to fellow Liberal Democrat MP, Duncan Hames, and they have two young children together. In her spare time, she enjoys running; Swinson completed Loch Ness Marathon in 2007, The London Marathon in 2011 and The Stirling Scottish Marathon in 2017. Through completing marathons, she has raised money for the Anaphylaxis Campaign and Bloodwise charity. Swinson also ran the London Landmarks Half Marathon in March of 2019, in memory of her Father who had previously died of blood cancer.

Swinson is also a humanist; a member of the humanist charity Humanists UK. She has also written a book, Equal Power, where she discusses how to achieve gender equality in today’s society.

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