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“I fell out with the Lib Dems because Nick Clegg sold the jerseys”: The view on the streets of Jo Swinson’s East Dunbartonshire constituency

© Yui Mok/PA WireJo Swinson
Jo Swinson

Critics might have accused the Lib Dems of throwing the People’s Vote campaign under a bus by helping force an election.

But, in party leader Jo Swinson’s constituency, retired bus driver John Hutchison said their coalition with the Conservatives in 2010 was where they went off the road.

John, 71, from Lenzie, said: “I fell out with them because Nick Clegg sided with David Cameron and made an absolute mess of British politics.

“I now have a dilemma of whether to go back to the Lib Dems or vote SNP.

“Jo Swinson is a good constituency MP and I have always liked her green policies, but Nick Clegg poisoned my view of the Lib Dems.”

He added: “I’m in favour of another referendum on whether to stay in Europe or not. A lot of people were misled by Boris Johnson’s and Michael Gove’s lies.”

East Dunbartonshire is one of the most keenly contested seats of the General Election, with Swinson seeking to consolidate a 5,339-strong majority and the SNP hoping to unseat her again.

The Lib Dem leader first won East Dunbartonshire in 2005, aged 25. She served in the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government as Business Minister between 2012 and 2015.

She lost her seat in 2015 to the SNP’s John Nicholson but regained it two years later.

It was one of the most pro-Remain areas in Britain, with 71.4% voting to stay in the EU in the 2016 referendum.

In Kirkintilloch town centre, most voters either wanted a second referendum or a government that would push through Brexit.

Care worker Don Marshall, 56, said: “I lived in Europe for 30 years, but as much as there are certain benefits of being part of the EU, I believe it is time we took control of our own fishing rights, laws and trade deals.

“We need a General Election to break the stalemate.”

Retired local government worker Pat Burgess said she was likely to vote SNP again, adding: “I don’t agree with all their policies, but I think Scotland should govern itself. If we do get independence, I wouldn’t say I would always vote SNP, but they are the only ones at the moment offering an independent Scotland.”

Market researcher and first-time voter, Charlotte Todd, 18, from Bishopbriggs, said: “Jeremy Corbyn is not really my cup of tea but I like Labour’s policies on welfare, health and education.”

She also supports a second Brexit referendum. She said: “A lot of people have changed their minds.”