Jo Swinson shocked viewers when she was finally forced to admit that her party’s plan to revoke Article 50 and overturn Brexit had been dropped. The Liberal Democrat leader revealed the shocking u-turn in her tense interview with BBC‘s Andrew Neil. Ms Swinson had originally launched her election campaign with a vow to become the UK’s next Prime Minister, but things quickly spiralled when her popularity plummeted.
The Lib Dem told Mr Neil that her party will now campaign for a “final say on the specific Brexit deal”.
The BBC host said: “The central pitch that you launched this campaign on that you would reverse Brexit without a second referendum, that falls away because that needed a Lib Dem majority government.”
Ms Swinson replied: “We’ve set out very clearly that we want to stop Brexit, and every scenario, how we’ll try to do that.
“Obviously we will keep campaigning for a People’s Vote. There’s eight days to go but it looks like that’s the more likely scenario.”
She added: “We’ve always said we wanted to do it through a democratic means, whether through an election or a People’s Vote on a specific Brexit deal.
“The Liberal Democrats have led that campaign, we came out immediately after the 2016 referendum and said we thought a specific Brexit deal should be put to the public for a final say.”
Mr Neil suggested Ms Swinson’s campaign strategy was the “height of folly”.
He asked: “But given that your campaign has somewhat floundered, was it not the height of folly to position yourself at the start as the next Prime Minister seeking a mandate to revoke Article 50 without a referendum? Weren’t these two major mistakes?”
The Lib Dem leader again blamed the deal that was “stitched up” between Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson for Brexit Party candidates to stand down in Tory seats.
Mr Neil also questioned why, according to a Times poll, the more voters get to know Ms Swinson, “the less they like” her.
She replied: “Well, I don’t know the answer to that question.”
Ms Swinson was also forced to deny trying to “fiddle” the result of a re-run poll by asking for 16-year-olds to be allowed to vote.
She said: “I’ve always supported votes at 16.”