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Jo Swinson says Lib Dems ‘have to change’ to win new votes

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The deputy leader also refused to rule out standing for the party leadership

Jo Swinson

Lib Dem deputy leader Jo Swinson has said the party needs to change in order to attract new voters.

Ms Swinson, who was a minister in the coalition government, also refused to rule out a leadership challenge when Sir Vince Cable steps down.

Speaking to Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday, she said: “We’ve got the ingredients to be able to challenge the other parties, we’ve got the infrastructure of parties right across the country in terms of local associations, candidates, the whole idea of a centrist party gets talked about endlessly but doesn’t really get off the ground.

“You don’t need to set up a new party because the Liberal Democrats are here, but we recognise that we have to change in order to make it easier for people that perhaps haven’t looked at us before to look again at the Lib Dems.”

The East Dunbartonshire MP was later asked if she would consider running for the leadership of the party, to which she responded: “There’s no vacancy at the moment.

“Vince has set out the things that he wants to do before he stands down.”

She added: “At the time that Vince does stand down, then absolutely I’ll take a view at that point.”

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Ms Swinson also told how she hoped the Labour Party would shift its position on a second EU referendum after an intervention from London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

Mr Khan, writing in the Observer, insisted that the people should be given the chance to reject a Brexit deal that will “be bad for the economy, jobs and the NHS”.

Ms Swinson welcomed his comments, adding: “I think it shows that momentum is building to have a people’s vote on the deal.”

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She was later asked on BBC Radio 5’s Pienaar’s Politics if she worried about a potential public backlash if a second vote was granted.

She said: “What worries me is seeing our country heading off the edge of the precipices towards a no deal Brexit where we are talking about potential food shortages and medicines being stockpiled and what that’s going to do to our economy.

“That really keeps me awake at night, so Brexit in my view must be stopped.”

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