Jo Swinson tipped for Lib Dem leadership after rising star Layla Moran rules herself out

Written by Tom Freeman and Nicholas Mairs on 14 May 2019 in News

East Dunbartonshire MP Jo Swinson favourite to succeed Vince Cable after rival drops out

Jo Swinson - PA

Scottish Liberal Democrat MP and deputy leader of the party Jo Swinson is being tipped to become the party’s new UK leader, after a prominent rival ruled herself out of the race.

Swinson, the party’s spokesperson on foreign and commonwealth affairs, has not yet confirmed she will seek to succeed Sir Vince Cable, but is expected to stand.

Rising star Layla Moran, thought to be among the frontrunners to enter the contest, has now ruled herself out of the race.

In a statement, Moran said she did not believe she could take on the “busy role” of leading the party while fulfilling her duties as an MP after just two years in the job.

“I am very grateful to the large number of constituents, supporters, party members and elected representatives who have encouraged me to throw my hat into the ring in the forthcoming Liberal Democrat Leadership contest,” she said.

“As a relatively new MP, however, my first priority has to be to serve my constituents to the best of my ability.”

Sir Vince announced in March that he would stand aside this month, however it is widely expected that he will delay announcing a timetable on his departure until after the EU elections.

It comes amid a bounce in support for the pro-EU outfit, which is expected to benefit from anti-Brexit voters at next week’s vote.

The party – which is campaigning on a “B******s to Brexit” message – is currently one point behind Labour on 15 per cent across the UK, according to the most recent YouGov poll.

Nigel Farage's Brexit Party is in the lead with 34 per cent of support, and the Tories have fallen to fifth place with just 10 per cent of public backing.

The party launched its campaign in Scotland today, pitching for votes to “stop Brexit”.

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