Russia and China are now more reliable in an international crisis than the United States under President Donald Trump, Lib Dem deputy leader Jo Swinson has said.
In an outspoken attack on Trump, Swinson renewed calls for Theresa May to rescind the offer of a state visit to the UK.
“Trump is a bully, a misogynist and a racist. He boasts about sexually assaulting women. He cruelly mocked a reporter for his disability. He has rolled back trans rights. And for someone who makes much of being straight-talking, he won’t call a Nazi a Nazi,” she told the Lib Dem party conference in Bournemouth.
“Yet the Conservative Government thinks it is right to offer Trump the honour of a state visit to the UK. They are wrong.”
Swinson, who was re-elected to the Commons at the snap election in June having lost her East Dunbartonshire seat in 2010, raised fears about how Trump is handling North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.
“When calm heads and brave leaders are needed more than ever, global politics seems broken. A few years ago it would have seemed inconceivable that in such a crisis, China would be a voice of reason, and Russia more measured than America,” she said.
“The politics of the bully is back. Human rights are trampled. Climate change is denied. Hate and division are spread like poison into society.”
Swinson, who was elected Lib Dem deputy leader over the summer under Vince Cable, said people should be “very worried about the spread of hate in both our online and offline worlds”.
“We need to talk about racism and religious bigotry,” she said. “For people with brown skin, being abused in the street is a depressing reality.
“Levels of anti-Semitic abuse are at a record high.A tirade of bile is directed at migrants fleeing war-torn countries, the language of “swarms” and “cockroaches” dehumanising these desperate people with heart-breaking stories.”
Swinson added: “President Trump is a product of the anti-liberal forces we face. He is also their poster child.
“Faced with rising nuclear tensions, we have a President who picks up his phone not to talk, but to tweet inflammatory rhetoric in capital letters. A man who has made clear his own support for torture, and wants to ban all Muslims from entering the US, is in no position to advance the cause of human rights.”
Swinson’s speech, her first conference address as deputy leader, came as Cable has insisted he is a credible candidate to be the next prime minister.
Despite heading a party with just 12 MPs, he said today he could replace May in Downing Street.The Lib Dem leader told BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show: “I think it’s perfectly plausible, actually.”