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Brexit

Jo Swinson: Lib Dem Brexit policy to revoke Article 50 'is popular'

REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

By Elizabeth Arnold, PA Political Staff

The Lib Dems' policy on Brexit to revoke Article 50 if the party wins a majority "is popular", leader Jo Swinson has insisted.

Ms Swinson said her party was "in good health" despite a suggested squeeze in the polls ahead of Thursday's General Election.

She added that she would not resign if her party ended up with fewer MPs, stating: "I'm absolutely here to stay and I'm excited about the future."

Ms Swinson insisted the Lib Dems' revoke Article 50 Brexit policy was a "good policy because it's honest about what we would do".

She told Sky News's Sophy Ridge On Sunday: "It's also a policy which is popular.

"If you look at the YouGov polls for people who want to Remain, that's the preferred policy. Indeed even among Labour Remain voters, it's more popular than the Labour policy."

She added: "Our position is that we want to remain in the EU, and some people will think that that is an extreme position, but I think it is about the kind of future that we want to see for our country.

"It's doing it through an election, so it is only in the circumstances where we win a majority which would be a democratic event, which I think many people would recognise would be an electoral earthquake and therefore would have democratic legitimacy."

Ms Swinson said she was "looking forward" to her party making "real progress" on December 12 and gaining "more MPs" in the General Election.

She said: "We still have the opportunity to stop Boris Johnson getting a majority to force through his hard Brexit deal with the real prospect that we could be out of the EU with no deal at all in just over a year.

"So, the next few days will be absolutely crucial as people make up their minds in marginal seats across the country."

But she acknowledged: "Clearly, things have changed since the beginning of the campaign ... what we've seen in the intervening weeks is a cosy stitch-up between Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson."

Asked if she was asking for a caretaker PM role in the event of a hung parliament, Ms Swinson said: "I'm very open minded."

She added: "We will be absolutely working to stop Brexit, doing so in a co-operative way with others who share our values and share that goal."

Asked if she would resign if her party ended up with fewer MPs, Ms Swinson said: "No, I was elected as leader of the Liberal Democrats four months ago, that's a big job to be done and four months in I've made a start."

Talking about the high-profile defections from other parties, she added: "I've already secured more MPs."

On her personal ratings, she said: "I'm taking a very clear position on Brexit, I want to remain in the EU and I do recognise that some people aren't going to like that."

Asked if some of the criticism she faced was sexist, she told Sophy Ridge: "You and I both exist within public life where we recognise that there are double standards that apply. I knew that when I took on the job, I want things to change."

Referring to her nieces, she added: "I want the world that they inherit to be one that is less sexist."