Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson has apologised for backing the coalition’s austerity policies in a ‘car crash’ BBC interview – but viewers thought she still did better than Jeremy Corbyn.
Ms Swinson, who was a minister in the coalition government, faced a tough grilling from Andrew Neil this evening on her party’s backing for welfare cuts and said sorry for voting through the bedroom tax.
She told BBC One’s The Andrew Neil Interviews: ‘Clearly too much was cut. Clearly not enough was raised from taxation.
‘Some cuts were necessary, but the shape of those cuts and certainly the balance between cuts and tax rises, I don’t think was the right balance.’
Asked if she would apologise for supporting the so-called bedroom tax in the Tory-Lib Dem coalition, Ms Swinson said: ‘Yes, I am sorry that I did that. It was not the right policy and we should have stopped it.
‘And our manifesto makes clear that that should be scrapped.’
Ms Swinson added: ‘I am sorry about that. It was one of the things that we did get wrong.
James O’Brien compared the interview to the cringeworthy interview Prince Andrew on BBC Newsnight
James Pearce said the calibre of Mr Neil’s interview meant it was a shame there might not be one with Mr Johnson
Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan said Ms Swinson was ‘excruciatingly exposed’
Richard Porteous compared Jo Swinson to a ‘GCSE student in an oral exam’
A social media user called OldSpice said the ‘absurdity’ of the Lib Dems policies were ‘being exposed’
Derek Hansford described Jo Swinson’s interview with Mr Neil as a ‘motorway pile-up’
Jo Swinson was the latest leader of a political party to face an uncomfortable grilling from Andrew Neil
‘We did spend five years in a coalition government where clearly we didn’t win every battle against the Conservatives.
‘We fought many battles, and we did win many battles for more money for schools, for more money for the poorest pupils.
‘There are many things that I am very proud of and where we made a difference, but of course there are things where we didn’t win those battles, and I am sorry about that.’
Social media users said the interview resembled a ‘car crash’ and that Ms Swinson was ‘excruciatingly exposed’ by Mr Neil.
Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan said: ‘Jeez…@joswinson getting excruciatingly exposed by @afneil…but at least she’s sitting there.
‘And that makes her a lot gutsier than @BorisJohnson’
And Twitter user Derek Hansford said: ‘Jo Swinson interview with Andrew Neil…not just a car crash but a motorway pile-up. She has destroyed her party, and with it, any chance of a Tory majority government.’
But a number of Twitter users thought Ms Swinson was better than Mr Corbyn, who was interviewed by Mr Neil last week.
Ms Swinson, who was a minister in the coalition government, said cuts had gone too far
Other social media users such as John O’Brennan felt that Ms Swinson was better than Jeremy Corbyn in his interview
Brendan May said that during the interview with Mr Neil she gave ‘straight answer on her views and plans’
Debra Allcock Tyler said that Jo Swinson was ‘holding her own extremely well’ against Mr Neil
Gordon Horspool said although he was not a fan of Jo Swinson she ‘held her own against’ Andrew Neil
A social media user called Bird Watcher said that Jo Swinson coped much better in her Andrew Neil grilling than Jeremy Corbyn or Nicola Sturgeon
Twitter user Al Din said that ‘compared with the Corbyn car crash last week I actually thought Jo Swinson coped well’
In the latest installment of the interview series with Andrew Neil, Ms Swinson also insisted that neither Jeremy Corbyn nor Boris Johnson was fit to be prime minister, but the Lib Dems would support a push for a so-called ‘people’s vote’ on EU membership in a hung Parliament.
Asked if the Lib Dems would prop up a Corbyn-led government for six months in order to allow time for a new Brexit referendum, Ms Swinson said: Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson, neither of them are fit to be prime minister.
‘I will vote for legislation to pass a people’s vote, of course I will, and I would have done that under the previous Conservative government, just as I would do it under any other government.
‘I am not going to put Jeremy Corbyn into Number 10, but if a government of any colour puts down a Bill in Parliament to have a people’s vote, then we will support having a people’s vote to put a specific Brexit deal to the people with the option of remaining in the EU.’
Ms Swinson added: ‘Will I vote for legislation on a people’s vote? Yes.
‘If Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn don’t win a majority at this election then there is no guarantee that they are still going to be the ones that are leading their parties a week afterwards.
‘So, Liberal Democrats will work to stop Brexit. We will support legislation that puts in place a people’s vote and we will work across parties.’
Ms Swinson said that no-one knows Mr Corbyn’s stance on Brexit, stating: ‘None of us know what Mr Corbyn is really is proposing because he is offering everybody a free pony, frankly.’
Questioned on why voters seemed to like her less the more they got to know her, Ms Swinson said: ‘I don’t know the answer to that question.
‘I have seen some polls that say something slightly differently to that. At the end of the day, I am going to stand for what I believe in. And there will be people who dislike that.’
Jo Swinson is caught in Extinction Rebellion sting! Bungling climate change activists dressed as bees glue themselves to Lib Dems’ ELECTRIC battle bus before swarming Brexit Party’s campaign office
by Henry Martin for MailOnline
Extinction Rebellion protesters dressed up as bees today glued themselves to the Liberal Democrats’ electric battle bus as others swarmed a Brexit party office.
Six bumbling activists descended on the Lib Dem campaign bus, with one sticking himself to the vehicle with superglue as part of a protest against ‘all parties.’
Another group of bees were later seen writhing around on the floor of Brexit Party candidate Christopher Barker’s office in Grimsby.
Extinction Rebellion said six of its activists had targeted the Lib Dem battle bus to demand that ‘climate and ecological emergency is top of the agenda this election’
The Lib Dem battle bus was struck as leader Jo Swinson arrived to the Knights Youth Centre in Streatham, south London.
Ms Swinson was pictured trying to reason with the protesters as officers arrived to remove the stuck activists.
She told reporters: ‘There is clearly a little bit of an irony in gluing yourself to an electric bus. A little bit like when the DLR was targeted.
‘Obviously, again, a fairly environmentally friendly form of transport. But, I recognise the general point.
‘And I welcome that the climate emergency is a really important issue in this election.’
She later tweeted: ‘Great to speak to @XRebellionUK bees today. The climate emergency needs urgent action now. @LibDems are the only party with a credible & radical plan: a 10-year emergency programme to reduce greenhouse emissions & to generate 80% of our electricity from renewables by 2030.
An Extinction Rebellion protester is lead away by Police officers after he glued himself to the Liberal Democrat battle bus
Liberal Democrat Leader Jo Swinson speaks to Extinction Rebellion protesters dressed as bees after they glued themselves to the party’s battle bus during a visit to Knights Youth Centre in London
Six activists swarmed the party’s battle bus dressed as the insects, with one protester, Pete McCall, sticking himself to the vehicle with superglue
Protesters dressed as bees descend on Brexit Party campaign office in Grimsby
The activists dressed as bees staged a protest on Brexit Party candidate Christopher Barker’s office floor
‘And thank-you @XRebellionUK for cleaning up our electric coach afterwards.’
Meanwhile other bees targeting the Brexit Party’s Mr Barker in Grimsby lay on their backs and wiggled their limbs, imitating dying insects.
Mr Barker tweeted: ‘There’s intelligent politics, with grown-ups, who debate real ideas to further our society.
‘Then there’s the politics of the kindergarten. Usually silent – because they don’t have ideas. Here’s an example.
‘These loons came in to our Grimsby campaign office this morning!’
Extinction Rebellion said six of its activists had targeted the Lib Dem battle bus to demand that ‘climate and ecological emergency is top of the agenda this election’.
‘The protest, going by the name ”Bee-yond Politics”, is being carried out to remind politicians of the irreplaceable biodiversity loss that is a direct result of their poor, irresponsible policy-making.
Extinction Rebellion protesters dressed as bees glue themselves to Liberal Democrat Leader Jo Swinson’s battle bus
Extinction Rebellion protester dressed as bees glues himself to Liberal Democrat Leader Jo Swinson’s battle bus
Police officers speak to Extinction Rebellion protesters dressed as bees at the Liberal Democrat battle bus
‘Activists wanted to plant the plight of bees and other pollinators fully in the minds of the next prime minister and to remind them that they hold the future of life in their hands.
‘Our bee population is being threatened by extreme weather and habitat destruction, bringing with it crop instability and food vulnerability.’
Footage of the incident shows a protester running in circles with his arms outstretched in front of the bus.
He said: ‘We’re facing food shortages in this country – without bees they’ll get worse. Sign the three demands bill.
‘We want climate action now!’
His statements were followed by a bee-like buzzing noise.
Police then appear at the bus and speak to the driver before telling the gathered crowd to step back.
A Met Police spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘At approximately 10:10hrs on Wednesday, 4 December a protestor glued themselves to a vehicle in Tierney Road, junction with Streatham Place, SW2.’
A man was taken away from the scene of the protest by police. An officer said the man was arrested for criminal damage.