The new Lib Dem leader is more Tory than some Tories

Jo Swinson
Fréa Lockley

Jo Swinson is now leader of the Liberal Democrats. But her voting record and her political history suggest that she may actually be more Tory than some members of the Conservative Party.

Once a Lib Dem, always a Lib Dem

On 22 July, Swinson won the leadership contest, with a large majority over her opponent Ed Davey:


After securing victory, Swinson reportedly labelled Boris Johnson “unfit to be prime minister”. She continued:

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.

I am ready to take my party into a general election and win it.

But any hope from people on the left that she may take a strong stand against the Conservatives would be very misplaced. For a start, she’s already ruled out any possibility of a coalition government with Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader. And concerns about Swinson’s track record don’t stop there.

An architect of austerity

As Labour’s Ian Lavery pointed out, it’s important not to forget Swinson’s leading role as one of the architects of Coalition-led austerity:

Indeed, Swinson’s voting record shows that she consistently voted to reduce welfare and benefits, including cutting payments for people with illnesses or disabilities. She also voted to cut the Educational Maintenance Allowance for 16-to-19-year-olds. And she helped to raise university tuition fees, despite promising not to as one of the key policies that helped elect many Lib Dem MPs in 2010. Her track record on environmental issues, meanwhile, shows she supported the badger cull, fracking and HS2.

Many others, including the SNP, were also quick to point this record out:

The Labour Party gave a quick reminder of all the things Swinson would rather we didn’t know:

As the editor of Tribune noted, she’s also a “darling of the liberal press”:

And if her true blue credentials needed any further testimony, she also wanted to honour Margaret Thatcher:

In fact, as activist Rachael Swindon noted, Swinson is actually more Tory than some Tories:

And #YellowTory started trending on Twitter in Swinson’s honour:

With the ongoing attack against Corbyn’s Labour, and the likelihood that Boris Johnson is set to be the next prime minister, Swinson’s election casts further stones in the UK’s murky political soup. But there’s a big chance that she’d also rather many people forgot (or didn’t know about) her cruel and vicious political history. So it’s up to all of us to make sure she can’t hide that.

Featured image via Flickr – Liberal Democrats

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  • Show Comments
    1. This is the most heartening news that she has been elected Leader of the Lib Dems. This article clearly shows she is a Tory through and through. Her anti-Corbyn rant on Radio4 Today shows she is pure establishment and hasn’t got the welfare of the UK at heart at all. Guess he is also probably a Friend of Israel.

      I guess he is willing to do a deal with the Brexit Party and support Nigel Farage if needs be to get into power; what a truly revolting person to pick as leader of the Lib Dems – another Rabid Right Wing Tory. No choice for the electorate other than to vote for Labour now is there really?

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