The Liberal Democrat chief, Jo Swinson, has been toppled in her personal seat, throwing her future on the head of the social gathering into severe doubt after a dismal exhibiting on the polls typically.
Swinson, who began the marketing campaign claiming she might be the following prime minister, misplaced in her East Dunbartonshire constituency to the SNP, a end result that capped a disastrous night time for her social gathering.
Although Lib Dem numbers within the Commons swelled earlier than the election to 21, aided by MPs crossing the ground, the Ipsos Mori exit ballot predicted the social gathering profitable 13 seats – just one greater than in 2017.
Tom Brake was one other casualty for the social gathering, narrowly failing to carry his Carshalton & Wallington seat in south London.
Small comfort got here in Richmond Park, south-west London, the place Sarah Olney recaptured the remain-backing seat, ousting the Tory minister Zac Goldsmith. The social gathering gained in St Albans, the Hertfordshire constituency that voted closely in favour of stay in 2016, beating the Tories.
However in Finchley and Golders Inexperienced, north London, the previous Labour MP Luciana Berger didn’t win the seat for the Lib Dems, trailing the Tories by greater than 6,000 votes, regardless of early hopes. Two different high-profile recruits to the Lib Dems, Labour convert Chuka Umunna and the previous Tory minister Sam Gyimah, have been each unsuccessful for the social gathering in constituencies within the capital. Different defectors to the social gathering Sarah Wollaston, Phillip Lee, Antoinette Sandbach and Angela Smith all misplaced as effectively.
It was an terrible night time for the Lib Dems, which had pinned its electoral hopes on attracting stay supporters with a pledge to revoke Brexit with no second referendum.
It was heading in the right direction to be the third worst efficiency within the social gathering’s 31-year trendy historical past, following its disastrous fall from 57 to eight seats in 2015 after the coalition authorities with the Conservatives and 2017’s modest enchancment to 12 elected MPs.
Swinson’s loss follows that of its former chief Nick Clegg, who was booted out by voters in 2017. She was defending a 5,339 majority, however misplaced by simply 149 votes to the SNP.
In her speech on the depend after dropping, Swinson highlighted a “wave of nationalism” sweeping “each side of the border” however didn’t focus on her personal future as chief, explaining she would remark additional later.
“However let me say now, for tens of millions of individuals in our nation these outcomes will carry dread and dismay and persons are searching for hope,” she mentioned. “I nonetheless consider that we as a rustic may be heat and beneficiant, inclusive and open, and that by working along with our nearest neighbours we will obtain a lot extra.
“Liberal Democrats will proceed to face up for these values that information our liberal motion: openness, equity, inclusivity. We are going to arise for hope.”
The end result will gasoline criticisms of Swinson’s presidential-style marketing campaign, through which her social gathering’s ballot scores slipped all through the race.
There had been optimistic predictions throughout the autumn convention that the Lib Dems – who adopted a slogan earlier this yr declaring “Bollocks to Brexit” – may win as much as 80 seats.
The social gathering’s president, Woman Brinton, defended Swinson’s management and claimed she had confronted misogyny. “Jo is providing a distinct fashion of politics to that of Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn,” she instructed ITV.
“And other people do like that. However I do assume that there have been a variety of issues. Initially, she has been on the receiving finish of an infinite quantity of – I’d even go so far as to say – misogynist feedback which male politicians don’t face.”
Commenting on the Lib Dems’ stance on revoking Brexit, Brinton added: “We all know that remainers actually just like the message of ‘cease Brexit’, there’s little doubt about that.
“That is the place first-past-the-post harms us and different smaller events as a result of it ended up as a battle between Labour and the Conservatives, and Labour’s equivocal place on whether or not they have been stay or not stay or if Jeremy Corbyn was really for a mushy Brexit hasn’t helped.”
Regardless of the social gathering’s lacklustre predicted efficiency on the polls, a Lib Dem supply remained upbeat. “Each Lib Dem MP elected tonight will give the social gathering a stronger hand to cease Brexit and resist the forces of nationalism,” they mentioned. “We are going to stand agency in our perception that the UK’s future is healthier if we stay within the European Union, as an outward-looking, internationalist nation.
“The stitch-up between the Conservatives and [Nigel] Farage has made this election tougher. We’ve got fought a constructive marketing campaign setting out an formidable plan for the way forward for our nation, the place each particular person, each group and our planet can thrive.
“Labour appear to have considerably gone backwards and are heading in the right direction for his or her worst election defeat in trendy instances. For too many individuals, issues aren’t working as they need to be. Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn have led their events to the extremes. Neither should be prime minister.”
In Richmond Park, Olney gained again the seat from Goldsmith with a 7,766 majority, in a blow to the Tories.
However in Sheffield Hallam, Clegg’s outdated seat, the Lib Dems misplaced by 712 votes to Labour regardless of the exit ballot exhibiting an 86% likelihood of them profitable.
The social gathering was additionally unsuccessful in overturning a Tory majority within the goal seat of Lewes, East Sussex, the place the comic Steve Coogan, a staunch Labour supporter, had publicly backed the Lib Dems. The Tories once more pissed off Lib Dem hopes in Winchester, profitable by fewer than 1,000 votes.
Prospects appeared higher in Cheltenham, with the exit ballot giving a 92% likelihood of profitable the Conservative-held seat.