Jo Swinson has said she is “proud” to have been the first woman to lead the Liberal Democrats as she prepares to step down as party leader.
Ms Swinson, who lost her seat to the SNP’s Amy Callaghan, said she was “devastated” by the election result.
Addressing supporters in London, she warned of a growing tide of populism and urged her party to “regroup”.
The Lib Dems dropped to 11 seats – Sir Ed Davey and Baroness Sal Brinton will take over as acting co-leaders.
“I’m proud to have been the first woman to have led the Liberal Democrats. I’m even more proud that I will not be the last.
“One of the realities of smashing glass ceilings is that a lot of broken glass comes down on your head”, she added.
She spoke of the experience of current Lib Dem spokeswomen Layla Moran, Christine Jardine, Wera Hobhouse and Sarah Olney, as well as welcoming the party’s newly-elected female MPs.
Turning to the two main political parties, Ms Swinson criticised the leaders of both Labour and the Conservatives, saying voters were forced to choose the “least worst option”.