SCOTTISH MP Jo Swinson has been announced as the next leader of the Liberal Democrats.

The former minister has been battling it out with Sir Ed Davey to take the reins of the pro-Remain party, following Sir Vince Cable's decision earlier this year to stand down.

East Dunbartonshire MP Ms Swinson was the bookmakers' favourite in the race, and has served as Sir Vince's deputy since June 2017.

She becomes the first woman to lead the party in its 31-year history. She said she was "delighted, honoured, absolutely over the moon" to become the party's leader, and promised to do "whatever it takes to stop Brexit".

She vowed to lead not only the Liberal Democrats in Parliament, but also the "bigger, open liberal movement our country so desperately needs".

Ms Swinson won 47,000 votes against 28,000 for Sir Ed, on a 72 per cent turn out of the party's members.

READ MORE: Liberal Democrats are UK's most popular party, poll suggests

The result of the ballot of the party's membership was announced at around 4pm in London, and was not as close as expected. 


Jo Swinson

The party has 12 MPs - bolstered by Chuka Umunna's decision to join last month - and came second in the European elections, winning 20 per cent of the vote share.

The Lib Dems also enjoyed a surge at the local elections in response to their anti-Brexit stance.

READ MORE: Jo Swinson says Lib Dems have better chance now of 'breaking mould of British politics' than they did in 1980s​

Ms Swinson has suggested that if Boris Johnson enters Number 10 and is committed to Brexit on October 31 with or without a deal then the Lib Dems could be boosted even further.


Ed Davey

Kingston and Surbiton MP Sir Ed served as energy secretary in the coalition government under David Cameron.

Sir Ed has previously suggested that a government of national unity led by a Labour backbencher could be a way of stopping a prime minister intent on a no-deal Brexit.

MPs were quick to pass on their congratulations on social media, with the Liberal Democrat's Layla Moran tweeting: "Delighted @joswinson is the new @LibDems leader!!
"Commiserations to @EdwardJDavey who fought a brilliant campaign. We are lucky to have such talent in our party."

Tom Brake, the Liberal Democrats' Brexit and international trade spokesman, said Jo Swinson will be a "formidable leader".

He tweeted: "Congratulations @joswinson on becoming the new leader of the #LibDems!
"Your grit, business experience, and passion for protecting the British people will make you a formidable leader at a time when the country is in dire need of direction.
"Excited for our work ahead!"


Outgoing leader Vince Cable 

Former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron tweeted: "Congratulations @joswinson You will be an outstanding leader at just the moment when we need you the most.
"@EdwardJDavey hard luck, you ran a fantastic campaign, I'm very proud of you."

However, the SNP called on the new Lib Dem leader to rule out any future pacts with the Conservatives and to "apologise" for cuts made under the previous Lib Dem-Tory coalition.

READ MORE: Scots Lib Dems leader back Jo Swinson to lead UK party

Mhairi Black said: "Jo Swinson was one of the most enthusiastic cheerleaders for the Tory coalition government.

"She must move quickly to apologise for the devastating cuts she imposed, and rule out any future Tory pact - if she wants anyone to believe the Lib Dems have changed their ways.

"While the SNP has consistently opposed Tory cuts, the Lib Dems enabled the worst of them - pushing millions of people into poverty and inequality, and forcing families to rely on food banks and emergency aid to feed their children."