EAST Dunbartonshire MP Jo Swinson, the bookies’ favourite in the race to succeed Tim Farron as the Liberal Democrat leader, has ruled herself out of the top job.

The former business minister, who regained her seat from the SNP’s John Nicolson at the General Election, said she will fight for the deputy leadership instead, even though most men in her position would “run for leader like a shot”.

Swinson said: “Being the leader of a political party is a unique and all-encompassing job. It should not be done simply to achieve status, to make a point, or to please others.

“Feminist that I am, I have wondered what a bloke in my position would do. It’s obvious. Most blokes in my shoes would run for leader like a shot. My many years of encouraging women to have the confidence to go for that exciting new role have taught me women often don’t go for things when they should.

“But just as often I have observed men going for promotion when they shouldn’t. Just because a man would do it, doesn’t make it the right thing to do. I’ve fought against stereotypes and structures that impose a choice on someone, rather than allowing them to make up their own minds.”