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Jo Swinson

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Jo Swinson

Jo Swinson
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Employment Relations, Consumer and Postal Affairs and for Women and Equalities
In office
4 September 2012 – 8 May 2015
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Norman Lamb (as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Employment Relations, Consumer and Postal Affairs)
Succeeded by Lucy Neville-Rolfe, Baroness Neville-Rolfe
Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister
In office
3 February 2012 – 4 September 2012
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Norman Lamb
Succeeded by Duncan Hames
Deputy Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats
In office
20 September 2010 – 23 September 2012
Leader Tavish Scott
Willie Rennie
Preceded by Michael Moore
Succeeded by Alistair Carmichael
Member of Parliament
for East Dunbartonshire
In office
5 May 2005 – 30 March 2015[1]
Preceded by Constituency Created
Succeeded by John Nicholson
Majority 2,184 (4.6%)
Personal details
Born (1980-02-05) 5 February 1980
Bath, Somerset, United Kingdom
Nationality British
Political party Liberal Democrat
Alma mater London School of Economics

Jo Swinson (born 5 February 1980) is a British Liberal Democrat politician and was formerly Member of Parliament (MP) for East Dunbartonshire constituency and the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Employment relations, consumer and postal affairs. She was also formerly a junior Equalities Minister.[2]

From 2007 to 2008 she was the Liberal Democrats' spokeswoman (junior shadow minister) for Women and Equality and the Department for Communities and Local Government, and was their spokeswoman for Foreign Affairs from 2008 to 2010, when the party entered government with the Conservatives. She was previously the Liberal Democrats' spokeswoman on Scotland and has chaired the Liberal Democrats' Campaign for Gender Balance[3] since 2004. From 2005 to July 2009 she was the Baby of the House (youngest member of the House of Commons).[4]


  • Early life and career 1
  • Political career 2
  • Personal life 3
  • Political career timeline 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Early life and career

Swinson was raised in East Dunbartonshire and was educated at Douglas Academy in Milngavie and the London School of Economics, where she studied Management gaining a Bachelor of Science in 2000. Swinson signed up as an active member of the Liberal Democrats at the age of seventeen.[4]

After graduating with a first class degree,[5] she moved to Yorkshire and worked for Ace Visual & Sound Systems[6] in Thorne, South Yorkshire from August 2000, then as a marketing and public relations manager for Kingston upon Hull based commercial radio station Viking FM from December 2000.

Political career

In 2001, at the age of 21, Swinson stood as a Liberal Democrat for the Hull East constituency in the UK General Election, gaining a 6% swing from John Prescott, deputy leader of the Labour Party. In 2003, she unsuccessfully contested the Strathkelvin and Bearsden seat in the Scottish Parliament, coming 3rd with 14% of the vote in the election.

Swinson won her seat in the House of Commons at the 2005 general election, beating John Lyons of Labour by 4,061 votes to take East Dunbartonshire, a suburban and semi-rural area to the north of Glasgow in Scotland. She was the youngest MP in the House of Commons when elected, (informally known as the "Baby of the House") replacing fellow Lib Dem MP Sarah Teather. She became the first ever Member of Parliament born in the 1980s.[4] She remained the youngest MP until 2009, when Chloe Smith won a by-election to become the Conservative MP for Norwich North.[4]

She was vocal in her opposition to the Iraq War and the Labour government's proposals for national identity cards. She supports measures both by individuals and government to tackle climate change such as conserving energy in the home and the current Liberal Democrat policy of introducing green taxes while reducing income tax to offset the burden of this. She supports reducing the voting age to 16 as one way of engaging young people in politics. She believes more women should be involved in politics but that encouragement is better than coercion in achieving this. She opposes positive discrimination to address gender imbalance, and famously led the argument against positive discrimination to select her party's candidates at their national party conference in 2002, wearing a pink T-shirt inscribed with the slogan, "I am not a token woman".

Swinson has also called for a "wellbeing index" to be introduced, to be compared against GDP, and tabled an early day motion on the issue in 2008, gaining 50 signatures. She found support from MPs such as Vince Cable and Angela Eagle (the motion was backed by members from across the political spectrum). Swinson cited the fact that although standard of living had increased, peoples' level of wellbeing had been virtually static for some time, according to polls.[7]

She feels strongly that new prisons ought not to be built and had campaigned vocally, but without success, against the rebuilding of a prison at Bishopbriggs which lies within her constituency. She had said that if a prison was built it must not be built cheaply,[8] and that it must not be named after the town in which is to be sited.[9] The campaign to give the prison its original name was ultimately successful,[10] this replacement prison will retain its original name, Lowmoss Prison.[11]

She is an active campaigner against packaging of chocolate Easter eggs, and each year since 2007 has seen her attack confectionery manufacturers for what she sees as excessive packaging of the seasonal children's treats, which generally involve a hollow egg covered in aluminium foil accompanied by a branded sweet, encased in plastic and cardboard to provide branding and protect the hollow and fragile chocolate foodstuff. She has named Guylian as the worst offender, followed by Lindt, Baileys and Cadbury.[12][13][14]

A sufferer of a peanut allergy,[15] her body went into anaphylactic shock after she accidentally ate a biscuit containing nuts at an event in Glasgow; Swinson had collapsed and was having difficulty breathing. Following an emergency injection of adrenaline, and an overnight stay in hospital, the emergency was over.[16]

Personal life

On 13 May 2011 Swinson married fellow Lib Dem MP Duncan Hames.[17] In June 2013, the couple announced they were expecting their first child.[18] On 22 December 2013, their son Andrew Lennox Marshall Hames was born, weighing 7lb 10oz.[19][20][21]

Political career timeline

(Current position in bold)


  1. ^ Parliament was dissolved on 30 March 2015, when members of parliament ceased to hold office, although government ministers remained in post until a new government was formed following the election held on 7 May.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Campaign For Gender Balance". Retrieved 2012-02-12. 
  4. ^ a b c d Shackle, Samira (2011-09-22). "20 under 40: Jo Swinson". New Statesman. Retrieved 2012-02-12. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Home". ShowMagic. Retrieved 2012-02-12. 
  7. ^ Wheeler, Brian (2008-10-09). "UK | UK Politics | Crunch time for happy talk". BBC News. Retrieved 2012-02-12. 
  8. ^ Ewan Fergus (2009-01-08). "Bid chaos over plan to build prison". Evening Times. Retrieved 2012-02-12. 
  9. ^ Ewan Fergus (2009-01-07). "We'll keep up fight against naming jail after our town". Evening Times. Retrieved 2012-02-12. 
  10. ^ "UK | Scotland | Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West | Jail name row ends with old title". BBC News. 2009-05-16. Retrieved 2012-02-12. 
  11. ^ Ewan Fergus (2009-05-19). "Town's joy at jail bosses' U-turn on prison name". Evening Times. Retrieved 2012-02-12. 
  12. ^ Martin Williams (2010-03-26). "MP resurrects row over Easter egg packaging". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 2012-02-12. 
  13. ^ "Easter Eggs 'Still Use Too Much Packaging', Claims Report". 2012-03-28. Retrieved 2012-03-30. 
  14. ^ "The Easter eggs that are choc-a-block with wasteful packaging | Mail Online". London: 29 March 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-30. 
  15. ^ Kunal Ditta "MP Jo Swinson recovering after suffering a potentially fatal anaphylactic shock", The Independent, 5 May 2013
  16. ^ "Jo Swinson MP recovers from allergic reaction", BBC News, 6 May 2013
  17. ^ "MP Jo Swinson weds MP Duncan Hames - Local Headlines". Milngavie Herald. 2011-05-25. Retrieved 2012-02-12. 
  18. ^ "MP Jo Swinson speaks of her delight at expecting her first child". Kirkintilloch Herald. 2013-06-25. Retrieved 2016-06-25. 
  19. ^ "Scots MP Jo Swinson gives birth to baby boy". The Herald (Glasgow: Newsquest Media Group). 24 December 2013. Retrieved 2 June 2015. 
  20. ^ "MP steps down after his wife gives birth". Western Daily Press (Local World). 27 December 2013. Retrieved 2 June 2015. 
  21. ^ Care, Adam (31 December 2013). "Chippenham MP Hames steps down from Clegg role after birth of son". The Wiltshire Times (Newsquest Media Group). Retrieved 2 June 2015. 

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for Dunbartonshire East
Succeeded by
John Nicolson
Preceded by
Sarah Teather
Baby of the House
Succeeded by
Chloe Smith
Party political offices
Preceded by
Michael Moore MP
Deputy Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats
20 September 2010 – 23 September 2012
Succeeded by
Alistair Carmichael
Party political offices
Preceded by
Jenny Willott MP
Liberal Democrat Trustee of
the UK Youth Parliament

June 2008 – present
Political offices
Preceded by
Norman Lamb
Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister
3 February 2012 – 5 September 2012
Succeeded by
Duncan Hames
Political offices
Preceded by
Norman Lamb
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
5 September 2012
Succeeded by
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