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Swinson Surge: Could Jo Swinson be our next Prime Minister?

July 29, 2019 10:00 PM
By Dominic Buxton

Swinson SurgeThe political news coverage over the last few weeks has been predominantly dominated by an utterly childish leadership contest in the Conservative Party, in which 0.138% of the population voted for this current sitting Prime Minister.

In this volatile political climate, and with thousands of people joining the Liberal Democrats in the last week, it has become clear that the country is crying out for a liberal alternative. We are at a crossroads in British politics where we are faced with the choice between a populist right led by the likes of Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, and no credible opposition from Labour, with Corbyn having lost complete control of his party. That simply isn't good enough. Britain deserves better.

By electing Jo Swinson, we now have an opportunity to rally around a leader who can bring together people from different political backgrounds around common values of diversity, equality and internationalism. As a party going forward, we need to broaden our appeal to encompass not just those who voted to Remain, but also those who voted to Leave because the economy, which concentrates a lot of wealth in London and the South East, doesn't benefit communities in other parts of the UK. The lack of attention given to the issues people face in their everyday lives by national politicians has fuelled a lot of anger and made some people feel left behind by Westminster politics. That has to change, and the Liberal Democrats stand ready to address the growing inequalities in this country and take people's concerns seriously.

I was out campaigning in Brecon a couple of weeks ago with Chuka Umunna, Jo Swinson and by-election candidate, Jane Dodds. We were walking down the street and were approached by an activist from the Brexit Party who shouted "traitors" at us. We dismissed it at first, but it was only in a conversation later that day that I came to realise it was a revealing reflection of the state of our politics. This is exactly the kind of language that fuels the 'us vs. them' narrative, which Nigel Farage actively encouraged when he uttered the words "we won it [Brexit] without a single bullet being fired" on national television on the morning of the EU referendum result, not even two weeks after Jo Cox had been brutally murdered by a far-right extremist.

In spite of this, liberalism and its values of tolerance, equality and freedom are thriving in this country, and both local and European election results in May are testament to that, with Liberal Democrats polling almost 20% nationally. Our clear and unambiguous 'Stop Brexit' message resonated with people up and down the country and crossed traditional party lines, drawing in support from lifelong Tory and Labour voters. Jo's non-tribal approach to politics makes her and the Liberal Democrats the perfect alternative for disillusioned voters across the country.

I was proud to support Jo as a candidate for the Lib Dem leadership. Now, I'm even prouder to be supporting Jo as a candidate for future Prime Minister.