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Jo Swinson: from baby of the House to new party leader

The MP for East Dunbartonshire was first elected to Parliament aged 25 in 2005.

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Jo Swinson is challenging to become Lib Dem leader (Yui Mok/PA)

Jo Swinson is challenging to become Lib Dem leader (Yui Mok/PA)

Jo Swinson is challenging to become Lib Dem leader (Yui Mok/PA)

Former minister Jo Swinson has won a landslide victory to become the new leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Ms Swinson’s Lib Dem election victory sees her move up from deputy leader to replace Sir Vince Cable at the top of the party.

The MP for East Dunbartonshire was first elected to Parliament aged 25 in 2005.

She was not only the youngest MP at the time, the “baby of the House”, but also the first to be born in the 1980s.

She served as a minister in the coalition Government but was among the party’s MPs who paid the price for the tie-up with David Cameron’s Conservatives in the 2015 election bloodbath which saw the Lib Dems reduced to a rump of just eight in the Commons.

Ms Swinson fought back, regaining her East Dunbartonshire seat in 2017 from the SNP.

Now 39, Ms Swinson also became the first MP to take her baby into a Commons debate when she took her second son Gabriel into a discussion on proxy voting in September 2018.

After former Lib Dem leader Tim Farron stood down in 2017, Ms Swinson was named as one of the possible contenders but successfully ran for deputy leader instead.

Ms Swinson married former Lib Dem MP Duncan Hames, who lost his seat at the 2015 general election, in 2011.

She was made a CBE for political and public service and has has also written a book, Equal Power.

She comfortably defeated Sir Ed Davey to become the Lib Dems’ first female leader, winning with a majority of almost 20,000 votes.

PA