How consistent has the Lib Dem leader been on Brexit? FactCheck takes a look.
Previous support for referendum
Ms Swinson has always been pro-EU, but has also said there are significant problems with it.
In 2008, she told MPs: “I am a pro-European, but the European Union is certainly not without its faults.” In particular, she said there should be “major reform” to the EU’s common fisheries policy and the common agricultural policy.
The same year, she voted for an in/out referendum on EU membership. This had been proposed by the then Lib Dem leader, Nick Clegg, who claimed it would be a “simple question”.
Ms Swinson told MPs: “The Liberal Democrats would like to have a referendum on the major issue of whether we are in or out of Europe… It would be welcome to have such a debate in the country.”
She repeated this sentiment again in 2009, saying: “It is time for the people of Britain to have their say on Europe.”
In 2010, she was re-elected to Parliament after standing on a Lib Dem manifesto that stated: “The European Union has evolved significantly since the last public vote on membership over thirty years ago. Liberal Democrats therefore remain committed to an in/out referendum the next time a British government signs up for fundamental change in the relationship between the UK and the EU.”
However, when an EU referendum was proposed again in 2011, Ms Swinson voted against it. As before, she was following the party line set by Nick Clegg, who claimed it was the wrong time to have a referendum because of the eurozone crisis.
Since the 2016 referendum
After losing her seat in 2015, Ms Swinson was not an MP when the EU referendum happened. But in 2017, she was was re-elected on a Lib Dem manifesto that promised a second referendum.
The manifesto acknowledged there was a “mandate to start negotiations to leave”, but said there should be a second referendum once a draft deal had been negotiated. “Every vote for the Liberal Democrats in this election is a vote to give the final say to the British people,” it said.
Ms Swinson herself also repeated calls for a second referendum.
But this policy has now been overturned.
After becoming Lib Dem leader in July 2019, she has now pledged to revoke Article 50 straight away – without even having a second referendum (if they get into government).
She also appeared to be inconsistent about working with other parties. When she became leader, Swinson also called for cross-party cooperation to tackle Brexit, saying: “This is the time for working together, not the time for tribalism.”
However, the next day she ruled out a pact with the Labour under Jeremy Corbyn, saying: “He cannot be trusted on Brexit.”