Swin­son rules out Lib Dem lead­er­ship bid

The Guardian - - NATIONAL - Press As­so­ci­a­tion

Jo Swin­son, the bookies’ favourite in the race to suc­ceed Tim Far­ron as the Lib­eral Demo­crat leader, has ruled her­self out of the top job.

The for­mer busi­ness min­is­ter an­nounced she will fight for the deputy lead­er­ship in­stead, say­ing it is “the right role for me now”.

Swin­son said that while most men in her po­si­tion would “run for leader like a shot”, it did not make such a move the right thing to do.

The East Dun­bar­ton­shire MP said: “I have been over­whelmed by so many lovely mes­sages from peo­ple I know, and from many mem­bers I have not yet met, en­cour­ag­ing me to stand for leader. I am touched and flat­tered that you look to me and I am de­ter­mined to play a key role in our party’s lead­er­ship.

“Be­ing the leader of a po­lit­i­cal party is a unique and all-en­com­pass­ing job, even more than the roles of MP and min­is­ter that I have un­der­taken be­fore. It should not be done sim­ply to achieve sta­tus, to make a point, or to please others.

“Fem­i­nist that I am, I have of course won­dered what a bloke in my po­si­tion would do. It’s ob­vi­ous. Most blokes in my shoes would run for leader like a shot. It’s true that my many years of en­cour­ag­ing women to have the con­fi­dence to go for that ex­cit­ing new role have taught me that women of­ten don’t go for things when they should.

“But just as of­ten I have ob­served men go­ing for the pro­mo­tion when they shouldn’t. Just be­cause a man would do it, doesn’t make it the right thing to do.”

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