Kirsten Johnson, the Liberal Democrat candidate for North Devon, told BBC Radio 4 that the area is not exposed to “people from other countries”. Ms Johnson also suggested that people in North Devon voted to leave the EU because they are “isolated” and have not experienced the advantages of being in the European Union.
Her comments were made at the party conference last week.
According to the Telegraph, she said: “Demographically its 98 per cent white, people aren’t exposed to people from other countries, they don’t travel a lot and I think there is a slight disconnect that North Devon being isolated, being rural and low income perhaps hasn’t appreciated the advantages of being in the European Union.”
Conservative MP for North Devon Peter Heaton-Jones demanded Ms Johnson to apologise.
He said: “Many people will be extremely offended by the suggestion that they support Brexit because they’re white and don’t get out much.”
However, when Ms Johnson was pressed on the subject she claimed that she did not mean to be racist.
She said: “I didn’t mean to mean that.
“When I speak to people I am hearing comments to me that refer to race, you’ve got me in a corner here.”
The unfortunate comments come as the Liberal Democrats pledged to abandon Brexit.
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She told The Andrew Marr Show: “We’re going to fight at the next election for a Liberal Democrat majority government, and for me to be Prime Minister of this country.”
Her comments reflected those of former Lid Dem leader David Steel who told his members in 1981 to “go back to your constituencies and prepare for Government.”
However, the Liberal Democrats suffered a crushing defeat in the General Election.
Mr Gyimah defected to the Liberal Democrats on the weekend only to put himself at odds with the party’s Brexit stance.
He said: “The position is, if the Liberal Democrats were to win a general election, their policy would be to revoke Article 50.
“The party is still supporting a People’s Vote as a way to break the Brexit deadlock.”
Deputy leader of the Lib Dems agreed with Ms Swinson’s stance.