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Jo, you smashed that glass ceiling! Thank you!

December 15, 2019 10:00 PM
By Dominic Buxton

Jo, you smashed that glass ceiling! Thanks you!It's fair to say that these have been a disappointing set of election results. I don't want to get into the election campaign itself, but instead I want to thank Jo Swinson.

I am beyond proud of the leadership Jo has provided in these volatile political times. Her dedication to upholding and defending liberal values in the face of extremist politics has not gone unnoticed and has set an example for all of us. Although her leadership of the Liberal Democrats was short-lived, she has been an extraordinary leader, and I truly mean that. She has provided a home for millions of Remainers and given a voice to all of those who want to fight for liberal values and build a fairer and more equal society.

I first met Jo properly at a climate strike in London in February this year and was then privileged to be part of her leadership campaign team. In the short time I've known Jo, her dedication to the Liberal Democrat cause has shone through. She is one of the most honourable and decent politicians of our time. I know Jo as someone who, regardless of popularity, always stays true to her values, questions the way things are and doesn't just settle for the status quo. She never compromises on what she believes in and consistently has the best interests of others at heart. I am proud of the campaign she ran - it was bold, energetic and inspiring. She never avoided scrutiny, faced tough audiences and questions and was at the receiving end of a lot of abuse, often underlined by a repulsive tone of misogyny. That 'girly swot' stood her ground and definitely didn't let anything stop her.

As Jo said in her speech to party members the day after the election, "One of the realities of smashing glass ceilings is that a lot of broken glass comes down on your head" - boy did she smash that glass ceiling. She became the first woman to lead the Liberal Democrats, brought in MPs who had been abandoned by their old parties, gave a home to those who wanted to stop Brexit and fearlessly led the Liberal Democrats into the election campaign - for that, we owe Jo an enormous debt of gratitude. I can say proudly with great conviction that my faith in Jo has certainly not been misplaced.

When you lose an election, you don't just throw in the towel, give up and walk away - you stick to your principles and keep fighting for what you believe in. That's what I'm determined to do. It is in that spirit that I am urging everyone to keep the faith and carry on, after a well-deserved break, of course. This is not the end. The fight for a more open and inclusive society continues, and knowing Jo, she will be right there fighting for it with us.

I can only hope in my heart that Jo returns to frontline politics. At a time when waves of nationalism are engulfing our politics, we need strong, liberal and progressive voices more than ever.

Jo - thank you for everything you have done - for inspiring me and millions of others to fight for a better future for our country, for making sure we can say that we were there and stood up to be counted, for listening, caring and being a friend. I am eternally grateful, so from the bottom of my heart - thank you!