December 13, 2019 / 4:32 AM / 8 months ago

UK Liberal Democrat leader Swinson loses seat to Scottish National Party

Liberal Democrats candidate Jo Swinson speaks after losing her seat in East Dunbartonshire constituency, at a counting centre for Britain's general election in Bishopbriggs, Britain December 13, 2019. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

LONDON (Reuters) - The leader of Britain’s pro-European Union Liberal Democrats, Jo Swinson, lost her parliamentary seat to the Scottish National Party on Friday.

The Liberal Democrats had hoped to win over ‘remain’ voters by pledging to overturn Britain’s 2016 vote to leave the EU but an exit poll predicted they would gain just one seat in parliament compared to the last national election in 2017.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives are on course to win a large majority after voters backed his bid to deliver Brexit on Jan. 31. The SNP are predicted to win 50 of the 59 seats in Scotland.

“Some will be celebrating the wave of nationalism that is sweeping on both sides of the border,” said Swinson, who only Liberal Democrat leader in July. “These are very significant results for the future of our country.”

Swinson, who held the seat of East Dunbartonshire from 2005-2015 and then regained it in 2017, lost by just 149 votes.

She did not say whether she would be stepping down as leader of the Liberal Democrats, who were in coalition with the Conservatives from 2010-2015, but said she would be making further remarks later on Friday.

“I still believe that we as a country can be warm and generous, inclusive and open, and that by working together with our nearest neighbors we can achieve so much more,” she said.

“Liberal Democrats will continue to stand up for these values that guide our liberal movement: openness, fairness, inclusivity. We will stand up for hope.”

Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; editing by Guy Faulconbridge

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