Frontrunner for Lib Dem leadership brands the UK ‘racist’ 

The frontrunner to be the new Liberal Democrat leader was branded ‘ridiculous’ last night after claiming the UK is a ‘racist country’.

Jo Swinson, the favourite to succeed Sir Vince Cable as Lib Dem party boss, was accused of smearing the entire nation with her ‘absurd’ remark.

The Scottish MP, currently the party’s deputy leader, made the comment while raising concerns over challenges faced by black people in public life.

Jo Swinson, the favourite to succeed Sir Vince Cable as Lib Dem party boss, was accused of smearing the entire nation with her ‘absurd’ remark

Jo Swinson, the favourite to succeed Sir Vince Cable as Lib Dem party boss, was accused of smearing the entire nation with her ‘absurd’ remark

Jo Swinson, the favourite to succeed Sir Vince Cable as Lib Dem party boss, was accused of smearing the entire nation with her ‘absurd’ remark

In an interview with the New European newspaper, Ms Swinson, 39, stunned even fellow Lib Dems, saying: ‘I recognise that ours is still a racist country.

‘We have not dealt with those issues as much as we would have liked to even if there has been progress in some areas.’

Tory Minister James Cleverly, whose mother is from Sierra Leone, condemned the blanket description.

He said: ‘One of the reasons my mother and people like her came to live and aspire to live in this country is because it is a beacon of tolerance and openness around the world.

‘For Jo Swinson to brand the entire country racist is as absurd as it is offensive and untrue.’

A spokesman for Ms Swinson said: ‘Jo was simply making the point that racism has still not been defeated in this country and that people still face discrimination based on the colour of their skin on a daily basis.’

Supporters of rival Ed Davey seized on the gaffe. One said: ‘This is a ridiculous remark which Ed just wouldn’t make.’

Supporters of rival Ed Davey seized on the gaffe. One said: ‘This is a ridiculous remark which Ed just wouldn’t make.’

Supporters of rival Ed Davey seized on the gaffe. One said: ‘This is a ridiculous remark which Ed just wouldn’t make.’

Supporters of rival Ed Davey seized on the gaffe. One said: ‘This is a ridiculous remark which Ed just wouldn’t make.’

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