Jo Swinson knows she will lose – but she's more honest than Boris Johnson has been this election.

Jo Swinson is brave. She was not only prepared to be interviewed by Andrew Neil, but she told him: “I’m proud of the campaign that we’ve been fighting.” The normal translation of that is: “I concede defeat.”

She has already been criticised, sometimes harshly, for losing this election. But I thought she deserved credit, not just for turning up to the interview, but for standing up for what she believes.

She stood up for her record and her principles against the heaviest onslaught modern TV has available. Neil asked her: “Who voted nine times to introduce the bedroom tax? ... Who voted several times to introduce the benefits cap? ... That would be you.”

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But she stood her ground. It was a coalition government, she said. The Liberal Democrats believe in coalition government in principle; they believe in working with other parties. She defended her record, and her party’s record, of making the policies of that government better and more compassionate.

Neil didn’t ask her about her decision to stake everything, including her months-old leadership, on allowing Boris Johnson to call this election. It doesn’t look as if that is going to work, but it wasn’t a terrible idea at the time. She could reasonably make the case that it was the only chance of stopping Brexit, giving that parliament was edging ever closer to passing the withdrawal agreement bill.

General election: Facts and figures

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Leaders' approval ratings, July-December
Seats to watch in Yorkshire
Labour top targets

General election: Facts and figures

Leaders' approval ratings, July-December

1/54 Leaders' approval ratings, July-December

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Seats to watch in Yorkshire

2/54 Seats to watch in Yorkshire

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3/54

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Labour top targets

4/54 Labour top targets

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General election 2019 poll of polls

5/54 General election 2019 poll of polls

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Seats to watch in north-east England

6/54 Seats to watch in north-east England

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When parliamentary seats last changed hands

7/54 When parliamentary seats last changed hands

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Seats to watch in the East Midlands

8/54 Seats to watch in the East Midlands

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General election 2019 opinion polls

9/54 General election 2019 opinion polls

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Seats to watch in south-west England

10/54 Seats to watch in south-west England

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Planned increase in day-to-day departmental spending

11/54 Planned increase in day-to-day departmental spending

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Corporation tax rates

12/54 Corporation tax rates

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Opinion polls (two weeks to go) v election result 2017

13/54 Opinion polls (two weeks to go) v election result 2017

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Opinion polls (two weeks to go) v election result 2015

14/54 Opinion polls (two weeks to go) v election result 2015

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15/54

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Applications to register to vote

16/54 Applications to register to vote

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How many women MPs could there be after the election?

17/54 How many women MPs could there be after the election?

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General election 2019 opinion polls in Wales

18/54 General election 2019 opinion polls in Wales

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A comparison of the length of the manifestos of the main parties

19/54 A comparison of the length of the manifestos of the main parties

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Mentions of key words in the main party manifestos

20/54 Mentions of key words in the main party manifestos

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Mentions of key words in the main party manifestos

21/54 Mentions of key words in the main party manifestos

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Leaders' approval ratings, July-November

22/54 Leaders' approval ratings, July-November

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General election 2019 leaders' visits

23/54 General election 2019 leaders' visits

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Council houses built in the UK 1951-2018

24/54 Council houses built in the UK 1951-2018

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Council houses built in the UK

25/54 Council houses built in the UK

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Opinion polls (three weeks to go) v election result 2015

26/54 Opinion polls (three weeks to go) v election result 2015

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Opinion polls (three weeks to go) v election result 2017

27/54 Opinion polls (three weeks to go) v election result 2017

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General election 2019 target seats

28/54 General election 2019 target seats

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Lib Dem targets

29/54 Lib Dem targets

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SNP targets

30/54 SNP targets

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Plaid Cymru targets

31/54 Plaid Cymru targets

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Prime ministers with shortest time in office

32/54 Prime ministers with shortest time in office

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Applications to register to vote

33/54 Applications to register to vote

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Major toll roads & bridges in Great Britain

34/54 Major toll roads & bridges in Great Britain

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Police workforce in England and Wales

35/54 Police workforce in England and Wales

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Police officers in England and Wales

36/54 Police officers in England and Wales

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Police-recorded homicides in England and Wales

37/54 Police-recorded homicides in England and Wales

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Knife crime offences recorded by police in England and Wales

38/54 Knife crime offences recorded by police in England and Wales

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Opinion polls in 2019

39/54 Opinion polls in 2019

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Number of candidates per seat

40/54 Number of candidates per seat

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Candidates standing in the 2019 General Election

41/54 Candidates standing in the 2019 General Election

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Candidates at UK general elections since 1979

42/54 Candidates at UK general elections since 1979

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Women candidates at the 2019 General Election

43/54 Women candidates at the 2019 General Election

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Prime ministers with smallest constituency majorities to defend

44/54 Prime ministers with smallest constituency majorities to defend

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Cost of administering polls since 2010

45/54 Cost of administering polls since 2010

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People's Vote group priority list of recommended candidates in key target seats

46/54 People's Vote group priority list of recommended candidates in key target seats

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MPs retiring from the House of Commons at general elections

47/54 MPs retiring from the House of Commons at general elections

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Lib Dems/Plaid Cymru/Green pact in Wales

48/54 Lib Dems/Plaid Cymru/Green pact in Wales

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Lib Dems/Green pact in England, seats where Greens have stood down in favour of Lib Dems

49/54 Lib Dems/Green pact in England, seats where Greens have stood down in favour of Lib Dems

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Lib Dems/Green pact in England

50/54 Lib Dems/Green pact in England

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Nationality of NHS workforce in England

51/54 Nationality of NHS workforce in England

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Proportion of NHS workforce in England who are not UK nationals

52/54 Proportion of NHS workforce in England who are not UK nationals

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Long-term net migration to the UK

53/54 Long-term net migration to the UK

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Shortest parliamentary sessions since First World War

54/54 Shortest parliamentary sessions since First World War

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Leaders' approval ratings, July-December

1/54 Leaders' approval ratings, July-December

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Seats to watch in Yorkshire

2/54 Seats to watch in Yorkshire

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3/54

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Labour top targets

4/54 Labour top targets

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General election 2019 poll of polls

5/54 General election 2019 poll of polls

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Seats to watch in north-east England

6/54 Seats to watch in north-east England

Press Association Images

When parliamentary seats last changed hands

7/54 When parliamentary seats last changed hands

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Seats to watch in the East Midlands

8/54 Seats to watch in the East Midlands

Press Association Images

General election 2019 opinion polls

9/54 General election 2019 opinion polls

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Seats to watch in south-west England

10/54 Seats to watch in south-west England

Press Association Images

Planned increase in day-to-day departmental spending

11/54 Planned increase in day-to-day departmental spending

Press Association Images

Corporation tax rates

12/54 Corporation tax rates

Press Association Images

Opinion polls (two weeks to go) v election result 2017

13/54 Opinion polls (two weeks to go) v election result 2017

Press Association Images

Opinion polls (two weeks to go) v election result 2015

14/54 Opinion polls (two weeks to go) v election result 2015

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15/54

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Applications to register to vote

16/54 Applications to register to vote

Press Association Images

How many women MPs could there be after the election?

17/54 How many women MPs could there be after the election?

Press Association Images

General election 2019 opinion polls in Wales

18/54 General election 2019 opinion polls in Wales

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A comparison of the length of the manifestos of the main parties

19/54 A comparison of the length of the manifestos of the main parties

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Mentions of key words in the main party manifestos

20/54 Mentions of key words in the main party manifestos

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Mentions of key words in the main party manifestos

21/54 Mentions of key words in the main party manifestos

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Leaders' approval ratings, July-November

22/54 Leaders' approval ratings, July-November

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General election 2019 leaders' visits

23/54 General election 2019 leaders' visits

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Council houses built in the UK 1951-2018

24/54 Council houses built in the UK 1951-2018

Press Association Images

Council houses built in the UK

25/54 Council houses built in the UK

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Opinion polls (three weeks to go) v election result 2015

26/54 Opinion polls (three weeks to go) v election result 2015

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Opinion polls (three weeks to go) v election result 2017

27/54 Opinion polls (three weeks to go) v election result 2017

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General election 2019 target seats

28/54 General election 2019 target seats

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Lib Dem targets

29/54 Lib Dem targets

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SNP targets

30/54 SNP targets

Press Association Images

Plaid Cymru targets

31/54 Plaid Cymru targets

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Prime ministers with shortest time in office

32/54 Prime ministers with shortest time in office

Press Association Images

Applications to register to vote

33/54 Applications to register to vote

Press Association Images

Major toll roads & bridges in Great Britain

34/54 Major toll roads & bridges in Great Britain

Press Association Images

Police workforce in England and Wales

35/54 Police workforce in England and Wales

Press Association Images

Police officers in England and Wales

36/54 Police officers in England and Wales

Press Association Images

Police-recorded homicides in England and Wales

37/54 Police-recorded homicides in England and Wales

Press Association Images

Knife crime offences recorded by police in England and Wales

38/54 Knife crime offences recorded by police in England and Wales

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Opinion polls in 2019

39/54 Opinion polls in 2019

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Number of candidates per seat

40/54 Number of candidates per seat

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Candidates standing in the 2019 General Election

41/54 Candidates standing in the 2019 General Election

Press Association Images

Candidates at UK general elections since 1979

42/54 Candidates at UK general elections since 1979

Press Association Images

Women candidates at the 2019 General Election

43/54 Women candidates at the 2019 General Election

Press Association Images

Prime ministers with smallest constituency majorities to defend

44/54 Prime ministers with smallest constituency majorities to defend

Press Association Images

Cost of administering polls since 2010

45/54 Cost of administering polls since 2010

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People's Vote group priority list of recommended candidates in key target seats

46/54 People's Vote group priority list of recommended candidates in key target seats

Press Association Images

MPs retiring from the House of Commons at general elections

47/54 MPs retiring from the House of Commons at general elections

Press Association Images

Lib Dems/Plaid Cymru/Green pact in Wales

48/54 Lib Dems/Plaid Cymru/Green pact in Wales

Press Association Images

Lib Dems/Green pact in England, seats where Greens have stood down in favour of Lib Dems

49/54 Lib Dems/Green pact in England, seats where Greens have stood down in favour of Lib Dems

Press Association Images

Lib Dems/Green pact in England

50/54 Lib Dems/Green pact in England

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Nationality of NHS workforce in England

51/54 Nationality of NHS workforce in England

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Proportion of NHS workforce in England who are not UK nationals

52/54 Proportion of NHS workforce in England who are not UK nationals

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Long-term net migration to the UK

53/54 Long-term net migration to the UK

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Shortest parliamentary sessions since First World War

54/54 Shortest parliamentary sessions since First World War

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So she and Neil danced around the hung parliament scenario that would be the next step towards stopping Brexit. At one point Swinson said, brightly, “We stopped Brexit twice already.” Well full marks for putting a bright Remainer gloss on the larger failure. She said she wasn’t going to put Jeremy Corbyn in No 10, whereas she knows perfectly well that this would be the most likely route to the second referendum that would be the only way to stop Brexit.

She knows that Boris Johnson is not going to give her the referendum, although she did say that she thought the choice in that referendum ought to be between Johnson’s Brexit deal and remaining in the EU: “Boris Johnson’s deal has got advocates.”

That would save the time of Corbyn having to negotiate a new deal, I suppose.

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But neither she nor Neil seemed to think that a second referendum was likely. So if Johnson won the election and we left the EU, would she resign as leader of her party, having failed in her only mission?

“I’m here to stay and we’re going to get a great result.” She’s not afraid of Andrew Neil; she’s not afraid of arguing for policies she believes in even when she knows they may be unpopular; and she’s not afraid of losing.

In this election of cowardice and fantasy policies, there is something admirable about that.

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