The Liberal Democrats have announced a leadership contest afterJo Swinson lost her East Dunbartonshire seat to the Scottish National Party.

Sir Ed Davey and Baroness Sal Brinton will replace Ms Swinson as joint acting leaders, while the Lib Dems will hold the leadership election in the New Year.

After losing her seat to the SNP’s Amy Callaghan by just 149 votes, Ms Swinson said: “Tonight’s result is obviously hugely disappointing, in East Dunbartonshire, and across the whole country with Boris Johnson winning a majority.

“I am proud that in this campaign, the Liberal Democrats have stood up for openness, generosity and hope. We were honest about what we believe in and what we were trying to achieve.

“This is clearly a setback for liberal values. But there are millions of people across the country who believe in them. By coming together to fight for them, we can create a positive future.”

Ms Swinson lost East Dunbartonshire in 2015 after the party’s unpopular coalition with the Tories, but won it back two years later.

The former business minister took over the Lib Dems after her predecessor Sir Vince Cable stepped down in the summer, having overseen excellent results in both the European and local elections earlier this year.

More from General Election 2019

She defeated Sir Ed in the contest to replace Sir Vince.

Jo Swinson speaks after losing her seat at the East Dunbartonshire count centre in Bishopbriggs, north of Glasgow

Ms Swinson started the general election campaign by declaring she was a candidate to be prime minister.

But, after the Lib Dems struggled to achieve much momentum over the past five weeks, she ended up instead urging voters to try and stop Mr Johnson, the prime minister, securing a majority.

Baroness Brinton, the Lib Dems’ president, said: “I want to thank Jo Swinson for her honest and fearless leadership of the Liberal Democrats.

“In this election, we gained more votes than in 2017 and we have been joined by many new MPs.

“In the weeks ahead we will elect a new leader and our party will continue to be the rallying point for anyone who believes in a country where everyone has the chance to get on in life.”

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