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  1. ITV Report

Lib Dem leader in Cambridge says her party is 'on the up' in the East

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson on a visit to Trumpington Park Primary School in Cambridge. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson has branded Labour and the Conservatives "uninspiring, tired old parties" and says her party is a genuine alternative choice in seats across the Anglia region.

Ms Swinson was visiting Trumpington Park Primary School in Cambridge where she read to pupils.

As the Liberal Democrats launched their election manifesto, the party leader admitted they are suffering a 'squeeze' in the polls.

Ms Swinson insisted the party would do better than the opinion polls predicted, stating: "There has obviously been a bit of a squeeze, but at this point in the 2017 election the polls weren't a very good indicator to what actually happened in the final outcome."

In an interview with ITV News Anglia Jo Swinson said the party was "on the up" in the East of England.

  • ITV News Anglia's Political Correspondent Emma Hutchinson tackled Jo Swinson on Brexit, education funding during the coalition government and the party's prospects in the East of England

At the last election in 2017, the Liberal Democrats won just a single constituency in the Anglia region out of 69 seats.

Former health minister Sir Norman Lamb held onto North Norfolk by 3,512 votes two years ago but is retiring as an MP at this election.

The party gained a second MP in the region in South Cambridgeshire when Heidi Allen defected to the Liberal Democrats in October 2019.

The party used to be the controlling party on Cambridge City Council between 2000 and 2012 but lost power to Labour.

Cambridge also had a Liberal Democrat MP for a decade until they lost the 2015 general election to Labour.

Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson talked to children at Trumpington Park Primary School about fiction and non-fiction books. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"We are still way up in the polls compared to where we were at the last election.

"We've also seen a big increase in Liberal Democrat members, people joining us from other parties, including Heidi Allen in South Cambridgeshire.

"We also saw massive gains in the local election in places like North Norfolk and Chelmsford - spectacular gains - so that shows the Liberal Democrats really are on the up.

"People are looking at us again in an environment where what's on offer from Labour and the Conservatives is really pretty uninspiring."

– Jo Swinson, Leader, Liberal Democrats
The media outnumbered the children in a classroom visit in Cambridge by Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson. Credit: ITV News Anglia

In the 2017 election in the Anglia region the Liberal Democrats got just 7.3% of the vote compared to 54% for the Conservatives and 33% for Labour.

The party lost its £500 election deposit in more than 30 seats where their candidate got less than 5% of the vote.

But in recent months the Liberal Democrats has seen a surge in support in the Eastern Counties.

The party came second in the European Elections at the end of May behind the Brexit Party.

They also gained more than 130 councillors across the region in the local elections at the start of May. They gained overall controlling majorities on the councils in Chelmsford and North Norfolk following on from success on South Cambridgeshire council in 2018.

Jo Swinson was on a campaign visit to a primary school in Cambridge.

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