Liberal Democrat Leader Jo Swinson visited a school in Esher on Wednesday (November 6) as the 2019 General Election got underway.

Ms Swinson spoke with school children including sixth form politics students at Hinchley Wood School as she began touring towns across the UK ahead of polling day on December 12.

The Lib Dem leader admitted mistakes as she was quizzed by the Comet on her voting record during the former Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government — in particular, her votes in favour of introducing Universal Credit and the so-called 'Bedroom Tax'.

Both policies were cited in several United Nations' reports, published since 2012, as examples of how the British government was violating the rights of people with disabilities in the UK.

This Is Local London: Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson during a visit to Hinchley Wood school in Surrey. Image: Aaron Chown/PA WireLiberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson during a visit to Hinchley Wood school in Surrey. Image: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

In response to a question about her support for both pieces of legislation, Ms Swinson said:

"I've been really clear that we didn't get everything right in coalition — we've made mistakes and I've said the Bedroom Tax is an example of that.

"I think Universal Credit needs to have a lot more funding put into it and that what we're setting out in our manifesto.

"The principle of a simpler system I don't think anybody disagrees with but it needs to be properly resourced and we're setting out plans for example to reduce the wait from five weeks to five days and to make sure that we are much more generous with allowances.

When asked by the Comet whether she had read the 2018 report authored by UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston on rights violations by the UK government, Ms Swinson said:

"I've seen reports about the report. I think it's important that all of these issues get looked at.

"I'm not pretending we got everything right in the coalition. We've absolutely learned lessons from that experience."

Ms Swinson was joined by the Lib Dem's Deputy Leader and Kingston and Surbiton MP Ed Davey during the visit.

Esher and Walton is a constituency the Lib Dems, strong opponents of Brexit, are hoping to gain from the Conservatives as the county goes to the polls in several weeks' time.

It is currently held by Tory Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.

Mr Raab has been an outspoken advocate of leaving the European Union since the 2016 'In-Out' Referendum, despite the fact that a majority of voters in his constituency (58.43 per cent) voted to Remain in the EU.

NB: An inquiry undertaken by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and published in 2016 found "evidence of grave and systematic violations" of the rights of persons with disabilities and cited the sanctions regime imposed by Universal Credit as evidence.