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Who will be the next Lib Dem leader after Jo Swinson loses her seat?

Jo Swinson, who led the Liberal Democrats into the General Election, lost her East Dunbartonshire seat. Credit: PA

After Jo Swinson failed to hold her East Dunbartonshire seat, former deputy leader Sir Ed Davey and Baroness Sal Brinton will become the Liberal Democrats’ joint acting leaders.

Under the party’s constitution, the leader must be an MP – so Ms Swinson ceased to be leader when she lost her seat. A leadership election will take place in the new year, the party said.

Here is a look at who could be in the race to replace Ms Swinson permanently.

Sir Ed Davey

Sir Ed Davey has been deputy leader of the Lib Dems since 2019, after coming second to Ms Swinson in the party’s most recent leadership race, and was appointed joint acting leader following her election defeat.

Sir Ed served in the coalition as secretary of state for energy and climate change, and has pledged to head up the “fight to stop Brexit”.

He has been the MP for Kingston and Surbiton since the 2017 general election and, apart from a brief spell of Tory rule in the constituency between 2015 and 2017, he has held the seat since 1997.

Baroness Sal Brinton and Sir Ed Davey have become the joint acting leaders of the Liberal Democrats following Jo Swinson’s election defeat Credit: PA

Baroness Sal Brinton

Baroness Brinton became a peer in 2011, and has been president of the Liberal Democrats since 2014.

The daughter of former Conservative MP Tim Brinton, she is a former Lib Dem Cambridgeshire county councillor and unsuccessfully contested South East Cambridgeshire in the 2001 and 1997 general elections, and Watford in 2005 and 2010.

Baroness Brinton is also a patron and trustee of numerous charities including the Christian Blind Mission UK, Unicef and the Ufi Charitable Trust.

Layla Moran has served as the Member of Parliament for Oxford West and Abingdon since the 2017 general election. Credit: PA

Layla Moran

Layla Moran has served as the Member of Parliament for Oxford West and Abingdon since the 2017 general election.

She is the first MP of Palestinian descent to be elected to the Commons for any party, according to veteran pollster Sir John Curtice.

Ms Moran was tipped as a candidate for the Liberal Democrat leadership last time round; however, in March 2019, she posted a Twitter statement admitting to slapping her then-boyfriend at a party conference in 2013, which led to them both being arrested.

Wera Hobhouse at the Liberal Democrats’ autumn conference Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA

Wera Hobhouse

German-born Wera Hobhouse has been the MP for Bath since 2015, and before that was a Lib Dem councillor for Norden from 2004-2010.

In 2018, Ms Hobhouse brought a Private Member’s Bill backing the creation of an upskirting offence.

In July, the issue secured government backing under Theresa May and the Voyeurism (Offences) (No 2) Bill became law on February 12 2019.

Since February she has been Liberal Democrat spokeswoman for the environment and climate change, and has pushed for an end to most carbon emissions by 2030.

Jamie Stone

Jamie Stone was elected to the House of Commons at the 2017 snap general election to represent Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross.

Before this, Mr Stone was the MSP for the Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross from the Scottish Parliament’s opening in 1999 to 2011.

He has been the party’s spokesman for defence since August 2019, and caused controversy in 2007 when he called the SNP “xenophobic” – something for which he later apologised.

Christine Jardine gives an emotional speech after Jo Swinson loses her seat Credit: Lesley Martin/PA

Christine Jardine

Christine Jardine was elected for the Edinburgh West constituency in the 2017 general election.

Ms Jardine is a former journalist, who worked for BBC Scotland and was editor of the PA news agency in Scotland.

She is the party’s spokeswoman on home affairs and women and equalities and was hotly tipped to stand in the last Lib Dem leadership election, but did not enter the race in the end.

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