Jo Swinson
Jo Swinson has said voters can see the Liberal Democrats are in a fight ahead of polling day Getty

Liberal Democrats will not be wiped out at the general election and predictions of the party's demise are "over the top", government minister Jo Swinson has said.

The East Dunbartonshire MP believes the election will go down to the wire and each seat will count, in one of the most unpredictable elections in a generation.

She was speaking after a Lord Ashcroft poll predicted the Lib Dems would take 9% of the vote in May, while a YouGov poll predicted 10 of the party's 11 MPs in Scottish constituencies could be booted out of office.

Swinson, who since being elected in 2005 has risen to Minister for Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs and Minister for Women and Equalities, told IBTimes UK that the Liberal Democrats' 57 MPs were in a "fight" to retain their seats.

"I think looking at the national polls does not tell the full story of the election," she said.

"So much will be determined by individual seats. The situation on the ground in constituencies will have a huge impact and depends on the health of local associations and on the record of the MP.

"We have been holding onto our councillors and our European members of parliament are also holding up remarkably well.

"We just need to keep our focus."

In a wide ranging interview, Swinson said the economy remained the top priority with voters she had spoken to but that the NHS and how it was funded also mattered.

Asked of the impact the Scottish independence referendum has had on her chances at the election, Swinson, who holds a slender majority of 2,184, said Nicola Sturgeon's party had replaced Labour as her traditional foe at the polls in May.

"The referendum undoubtedly created a polarisation and an increase in support for the SNP," she said.

"At the last election they came fourth but now the main challenge is the SNP. The interesting development has been that people who are not in favour of separation want to make sure that the surge in support for the SNP does not continue."