Jo Swinson’s latest power games give Boris Johnson’s hard Brexit a clear run

Jo Swinson
Fréa Lockley

On 12 November, Liberal Democrat candidate Tim Walker stood down in Canterbury. Labour’s Rosie Duffield has a strong chance of holding this seat. But Jo Swinson’s response was astonishing. She’s just helped Boris Johnson and his hard Brexit plans.

“It’s time to do what’s right”

In the 2017 election, Duffield won the seat by 187 votes. So it’s a key marginal seat. The Lib Dems, meanwhile, only won 8% of the vote and are unlikely to win Canterbury. As Walker explained in the Guardian:

Some things are bigger than party politics. And with the Tories in an unholy alliance with Farage, it’s time to do what’s right. …

while I was confident I could substantially increase the Lib Dem vote on the back of my party’s national resurgence, it was clear there was a danger I’d divide the remainers. That would allow in our common enemy, Anna Firth, the Tory candidate and an avowed hard Brexiter and former Vote Leave stalwart.

Communication between Walker and Duffield was dignified and gracious:

Then Swinson stepped in.

“Genuinely unbelievable”

Given Swinson’s alleged pledge “to stop Brexit altogether”, alongside the Unite to Remain campaign with the Greens and Plaid Cymru, you’d think she’d support Walker. But no.

A Lib Dem spokesperson insisted Walker would be replaced. But all four potential replacements in Canterbury refused to stand.

According to ITV‘s Paul Brand, Canterbury Lib Dems back Duffield and won’t support the new candidate anyway:

And many people saw right through Swinson. Because not only might this move help Johnson, it seems clear her aim isn’t stopping Brexit. It’s stopping Jeremy Corbyn:

Lib Dems weren’t happy either:

Yellow Tory

Walker and Duffield want to stop a Tory. But what does Swinson want?

Her latest power move suggests that she may well be lining up for a future pact with the Conservatives. If she does so, that enables Johnson’s hard Brexit. So it also implies that most of what she says about Brexit may be utter tosh.

Featured image via Flickr – Liberal Democrats

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