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Jo Swinson tells Boris Johnson: Being a woman ‘no weakness’

Embrace: Jo Swinson with husband Duncan Hames after Lib Dem speech PICTURE: BRUCE ADAMS

JO SWINSON has warned Boris Johnson that being a woman is not a ‘weakness’ — and won’t stop her from replacing him as prime minister.

The Liberal Democrat leader launched a scathing attack on the Conservative prime minister as she talked up her party’s prospects of winning a general election.

In her closing speech at the Lib Dem conference in Bournemouth, she told members: ‘Boris Johnson’s insults of choice are rather revealing — big girl’s blouse…girlie swot. But let me tell you, if he thinks being a woman is somehow a weakness, he’s about to find out it is not.’

The 39-year-old hit out at Mr Johnson for suspending parliament and sacking 21 MPs who rebelled against him. ‘Silencing critics, purging opponents, ignoring the law — for someone who proclaims to hate socialist dictators, he’s doing a pretty good impression of one,’ she said.

Ms Swinson told members that they must no longer view themselves as bit-part players in Westminster. The party has 18 MPs — boosted by six defections this year — and would need more than 300 extra seats to secure a majority. But she has dismissed calls to join in a coalition, saying neither Mr Johnson nor Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn is ‘fit’ to lead the country.

Instead, to multiple standing ovations, she said: ‘I am standing here as your candidate for prime minister.’

Ms Swinson confirmed the Lib Dems would introduce a wellbeing budget if they win power which would test government policy to determine how much happier it would make UK citizens.

She also committed the party to bringing in climate risk reporting for businesses and reviving the Green Investment Bank scrapped by the Conservatives.

THE home secretary’s unilateral right to strip jihadi brides such as Shamima Begum of their UK citizenship would be ended by the Liberal Democrats. The conference backed a motion which would mean the home secretary would have to apply to a court to rescind citizenship if it was found to have been gained by fraud or if it represented a national security risk.