Analysis: Where did it all go wrong for Jo Swinson?

Jo Swinson's position as a Liberal Democrat looks all but over after losing her seat in East Dunbartonshire following a disappointing night for the party.

Jo Swinson has had a disastrous election campaign

It topped a disappointing night for her party which is not expected to build significantly on the 12 seats which it claimed in 2017 and brought about the resignation of then leader.

Ms Swinson's problem appears to have been a mixture of policies and personality. The party was riding high going into the election, having finished second UK-wide in the European elections in May.

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This was grounded in the strong anti-Brexit message which appeared to have allowed the party to re-establish itself among large swathes of the electorate after the fallout of the Coalition years when the Lib Dems helped usher in austerity in government with the Conservatives.


The party's strong pro-Brexit message had been at the heart of its revival as Labour dithered on the issue. But Swinson appeared to take it too far when the Lib Dems adopted a policy to simply revoke Article 50 and scrap Brexit if they won power. They wouldn't stage a second referendum. To many this was simply undemocratic and ignoring the views of 17 million people who voted in favour of Brexit UK-wide in 2016.


And as the campaign kicked off, things just got worse for Swinson who was only elected as leader in July. She stood on a platform that she was a major contender to become Prime Minister. Coming from a party which only won 12 seats two years ago, it seemed ridiculous assertion. She was forced into an embarrassing climbdown on live TV when she was grilled by Andrew Neil on the issue.


But perhaps most damaging for Swinson was her role in the Coalition. She was not only a minister In David Cameron's Government, but she also voted in favour of a range of austerity measures which left here repeatedly being forced to defend this record during the election campaign.


And unfortunately for the new leader, the scrutiny of the election campaign did not reflect well on her. Polling evidence indicated that the more voters got to know her, the less they liked her and the party's ratings slumped throughout the month-long campaign.