Jo Swinson refuses to apologise for 'misleading' Lib Dem poll

Jo Swinson refuses to apologise for 'misleading' Lib Dem poll

The Liberal Democrat leader, Jo Swinson, has come under scrutiny on Sky News after being quizzed about a 'misleading' poll that her party released earlier this week.

Speaking to Sophy Ridge the MP was asked about a poll that the Lib Dems shared on Wednesday, where they claimed that their candidate for North East Somerset could beat the constituency's current MP Jacob Rees-Mogg.

The poll showed that the Lib Dems hold a considerable lead over Labour in the seat and are only marginally behind the Conservatives.

However, the small print for the poll made for interesting reading. It states the following:

Imagine that the result in your constituency was expected to be very close between the Conservative and Liberal Democrat candidate, and none of the other parties were competitive. In this scenario, which party would you vote for?

The party received severe online criticism for the poll, which Ridge questioned Swinson about. The host presented Swinson with the poll and the aforementioned small print, followed by the polling results for the seat in the 2017 general election, which showed that the Lib Dems polled at just 8.3 per cent, whereas as Labour achieved 34.7 per cent of the vote, with the Tories out in front on 53.6 per cent.

Ridge then accused Swinson's party of producing something that is "entirely misleading" and that is was "embarrassing."

In response the 39-year-old MP said:

Politics has changed significantly since the 2017 election. In the last national elections that we had in this country, the Liberal Democrats beat both the Conservatives and Labour, that is the first time that has happened for 100 years. Something very different is happening in politics now. 

It was a specific poll, in that specific seat and we've labelled what the question was. In the local elections, Jacob Rees-Mogg now has a Liberal Democrat councillor, right?

So the Liberal Democrats have been making progress and winning in that area and part of the reason for that is that the people who voted Labour in 2017, because they thought that Labour would stand up to remaining in the EU have been left bitterly disappointed and now they know that is the Liberal Democrats who are the place to vote for if you want to stop Brexit.

In response to Swinson's answer, Ridge asked her how she could criticise some of the rhetoric and facts used in the EU referendum if she was willing to 'pump out things that are misleading as well?' before comparing it to the infamous '£350 million on the side of a bus.'

Swinson said in response:

Look, we've said exactly what the question is. It's labelled on there what the question is that it relates to so anyone looking at it can read what the question is. If you talk about that figure on the side of a bus, that's something that bore no resemblance to reality and wasn't calculated in a way that made any sense. It's entirely different.

Swinson's performance on the show caught the eye of Labour MP Emily Thornberry who couldn't help but have a dig.

Elsewhere people have been applauding Ridge for her questioning on the issue and not ignoring what had happened.

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