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Jo Swinson’s challenge: reconcile the two halves of the Lib Dem character

The Liberal Democrats are torn between the need for radicalism on Europe and moderation on everything else

By Rafael Behr  

Photo: WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto/PA Images

It is a curious twist of recent political history that the Liberal Democrats will fight the next election under a 39-year-old leader with more ministerial experience than the 70-year-old leader of the Labour Party. She has some; he has none. Jo Swinson was an infant when Jeremy Corbyn was first elected to parliament. Three decades later, he was still on the back benches, when she was working for the coalition government.

Corbyn’s professional absence from front-bench responsibility is part of what recommends him to his…

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