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  1. ITV Report

North Devon Lib Dem parliamentary candidate Kirsten Johnson resigns after 'offensive' radio interview

Ms Johnson has apologised for the comments

North Devon Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate, Kirsten Johnson, has resigned following an interview on BBC Radio 4.

This morning she stepped down as of immediate effect after hitting headlines for her interview at the weekend.

Ms Johnson has apologised for the comments she made during her Brexit chat with Radio 4 presenter Ross Hawkins.

When questioned about the enthusiasm for leaving the EU in her North Devon constituency, she responded with, "Demographically it's 98% white, we don't have a lot of ethnic minorities living in north Devon.

"People aren't exposed to people from other countries. They don't travel a lot.

"I think there is a slight disconnect with North Devon being isolated, being rural and low income, perhaps they don't appreciate the advantages of being in the European Union".

This week the Liberal Democrat conference was held in Bournemouth

She went on to say "My concern is the rise of hate crimes".

When asked if she links leave voters to hate crime, she was adamant that she does not link leave voters with hate crime.

She went on to add, "I am just saying it's a complex view to who and why people voted leave".

The now former candidate has spoken out, saying she is aware her comments caused offence, claiming she "totally lost the thread" of what she was saying.

This resignation comes only days after the North Devon Conservative MP Peter Heaton-Jones called for her to apologise, saying the comments were "highly offensive and disgraceful".

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"I am acutely aware that my comments in the recent Radio 4 interview caused offence, and I reiterate my sincere apologies. Whilst I have had many very good interviews, on this occasion I totally lost the thread of what I was saying, which was interpreted in ways that I certainly did not intend or believe about the people of North Devon."

– Kirsten Johnson

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