Jo Swinson: here’s what you need to know about the new Lib Dem leader

Jo Swinson has been elected as the new leader of the Liberal Democrats.

The former employment minister in the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government, Jo Swinson supported putting David Cameron and the Tories into government, and despite all the pain inflicted on the most vulnerable in our society – she said she’d do the same thing again.

Whether it’s the bedroom tax, the betrayal over tuition fees, or the turbo-charged austerity, here’s a reminder of Jo Swinson’s record.

She supported the humiliating U-turn on tuition fees

By going into the Coalition government in 2010, the Lib Dems played their part in supporting and shaping the full Tory programme of austerity.

Not only did this include vicious cuts to public services, slashing of welfare benefits and pensions, but also a humiliating U-turn on the Lib Dems’ key manifesto promise to abolish tuition fees.

Instead of scrapping fees, the Lib Dems quickly fell into line with the Tories and voted to implement the trebling of university costs to £9,000 a year.

Unlike the Lib Dems, we’ve put our values into action. In the SNP’s first term in government, we scrapped tuition fees in Scotland and will always keep university education free.

She voted for the cruel and callous Bedroom Tax

The Lib Dems’ shameless support for the Tories’ cruel Bedroom Tax has put disabled and disadvantaged people in the front line of brutal austerity cuts. Cuts that the Liberal Democrats and Jo Swinson not only voted for, but helped to implement in government.

In comparison, the SNP Scottish Government is doing all it can to mitigate the Bedroom Tax and to protect the vulnerable with the Scottish Welfare Fund, and we will abolish the tax completely as soon as we have the powers to do so.

She has imposed the public sector pay cap while rewarding the wealthiest

Jo Swinson voted for the UK Government’s public sector pay cap while our public services were being cut to the bone.

The 1% cap on public sector pay rises was consistently below the level of inflation, which meant that an average health worker endured a real-terms pay cut of almost £2,000, while an ambulance worker had their real-terms pay slashed by over £5,000.

Meanwhile, she voted against an increased income tax for those earning over £150,000, and voted against a tax on banker’s bonuses, protecting those who need it least at the cost of the most vulnerable in society.

The government she served in presided over a horrific rise in child poverty

Under the Tory-Lib Dem government and their litany of welfare cuts and austerity policies, almost a third of children in the UK were living in poverty.

Jo Swinson repeatedly voted for cuts to support for families with children, which have driven the biggest rise in child poverty in a generation.

She voted to allow fracking and environmental destruction

While Jo Swinson has repeatedly emphasised her green credentials throughout the Lib Dem leadership campaign, her voting record lays bare the hypocrisy on the environment.

She said that climate change is a defining issue of our times, and yet, she’s voted against a moratorium on fracking permits, in favour of cutting subsidies for renewable energy, and in favour of selling off state-owned forests.

Under the SNP, the Scottish Government has ensured fracking will not take place in Scotland, while our bold action on tackling the climate emergency is receiving praise around the world.

She wants to keep Scotland tied to the Westminster sinking ship

While Jo Swinson and the Liberal Democrats say they support remaining European Union and holding a second EU referendum, they are happy to stand in unison with the Tories and Labour to deny Scotland its democratic right to choose its future.

This is the height of hypocrisy from Jo Swinson, especially seeing as in 2014, she and others in the Better Together alliance said that voting No was the best way of securing our EU membership.