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Jo Swinson awkwardly admits voting ‘nine times’ for bedroom tax in Andrew Neil interview

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Jo Swinson was put on the spot this evening as she apologised once again for backing the Tory Party’s welfare cuts.

The Lib Dem leader, who was a minister in the coalition government, looked uncomfortable as she was quizzed by Andrew Neil over her support for the bedroom tax.

When asked who voted ‘nine times’ to support the tax, she responded: ‘Liberal Democrats in government, including myself.’

She then added: ‘It was wrong. I am sorry about that. It was one of the things that we did get wrong.’

Swinson was then asked who voted ‘several times’ to introduce the benefits cap, a policy the party are now planning to scrap.

Jo Swinson interview

Jo Swinson looked uncomfortable as she admitted, Lib Dems got it wrong (Picture: BBC)

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Again, she admitted being a part of the vote, before being asked who voted ‘three times’ in favour of NHS contracts being out to a private tender.

Defending her track record, she continued: ‘We did spend five years in a coalition government where clearly we didn’t win every battle against the Conservatives.

‘We fought many battles, and we did win many battles for more money for schools, for more money for the poorest pupils.

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‘There are many things that I am very proud of and where we made a difference, but of course there are things where we didn’t win those battles, and I am sorry about that.’

Mr Neil then asked Swinson what she would say to those on ‘the end of these mistakes’, adding that 240,000 people had their benefits cut due to the bedroom tax.

Swinson replied: ‘Yes, I am sorry that I did that. It was not the right policy and we should have stopped it.’

At the start of the interview Swinson was also forced to admit that she did not believe her party could win the General Election.

Jo Swinson interview

She started the interview by admitted she is ‘unlikely’ to be Prime Minister (Picture: BBC)

Mr Neil opened their conversation by asking bluntly: ‘Can we agree to conduct this interview on the basis that you will not be the country’s next Prime Minister?’

Swinson replied: ‘I would obviously love to be Prime Minister. Clearly when you look at the polls that is not the most likely scenario, I will grant you that.’

However, during the interview she insisted that neither Jeremy Corbyn nor Boris Johnson are fit for the job themselves.

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She refused to say whether the party would support a Labour government in a coalition, but said she would back legislation on a people’s vote.

Swinson said: ‘If Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn don’t win a majority at this election then there is no guarantee that they are still going to be the ones that are leading their parties a week afterwards.

‘So, Liberal Democrats will work to stop Brexit. We will support legislation that puts in place a people’s vote and we will work across parties.’

Swinson also stated that she was not in favour of a referendum on Scottish Independence and the ‘extra chaos that brings’.

Instead, she emphasised that she would like a People’s Vote, in which the public choose between Boris’ Brexit deal and remaining in the EU.



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