Jo is part of a new generation of politicians prepared to work across party lines to solve the big issues facing the UK and the world.
She is the leading Liberal Democrat in the People’s Vote campaign, building relationships with parliamentarians of all political stripes to keep the UK in Europe, and has been a major part of cross-party groups such as More United and Better Together.
Jo believes the economy must work for the planet and people.
As a young girl, Jo was inspired by Body Shop entrepreneur Anita Roddick. While buying strawberry-shaped soap, she would sign petitions to end cosmetic testing on animals, or read about fair trade ingredients and recycling of materials. Since then, Jo has campaigned tirelessly to save our environment.
In 2007, Jo tabled a Bill in Parliament aimed at reducing the amount of packaging used for products bought in our stores and secured commitments from manufacturers such as Nestle and Cadbury to reduce excessive food packaging. More recently, she took to the streets with Extinction Rebellion in London.
As Minister for Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Jo delivered a fairer deal for workers and consumers.
She introduced shared parental leave, extended flexible working rights, clamped down on unscrupulous payday lenders, increased penalties on employers failing to pay workers the minimum wage, improved corporate reporting, introduced new rights for consumers buying online and made gender pay gap reporting happen.
In 2009, Jo set up the APPG on Wellbeing Economics and, while Minister, she introduced new wellbeing considerations for policies on employment relations and corporate governance, as well as securing funding for the What Works Centre for Wellbeing.
Jo has loved technology all her life. Her first computer was a Spectrum ZX 48K, she learnt programming at school and wrote to the Smash Hits Games Corner about the latest cheat codes. She ran a campaign at university to have internet connections in every room in her halls of residence.
She was one of the first MPs to embrace Twitter, was Vice-Chair of the Prime Minister’s Digital Taskforce, and was later on the board of a tech start-up. She now chairs the Liberal Democrat Technology Commission.
Jo joined the Liberal Democrats at the age of 17. By 21 she was taking on John Prescott in Hull, and by 25 she was the youngest member of the House of Commons, having become the first ever Liberal to represent East Dunbartonshire, her home constituency.
She was a Business Minister by the age of 32, as she quickly built a reputation for effective campaigning, backing the party’s opposition to the Iraq war and ID cards and campaigning for action on climate change.
After a decade in politics, Jo lost her seat in 2015. Never one to stand around, she went on to set up her own business and wrote her book Equal Power, before regaining her place in Parliament in 2017 and becoming the party’s Deputy Leader.
Jo is a mum of two young boys – Andrew and Gabriel – and married to former Lib Dem MP and anti-corruption campaigner Duncan Hames.