Clegg: Tonge 'ludicrous but not racist'

Nick Clegg has reacted further to LibDem peer Baroness Tonge's comment this week that Israel should set up an inquiry to disprove allegations that its medical teams in Haiti “harvested” organs of earthquake victims for use in transplants.

The party leader insisted that despite admitting her comments were “ludicrous, ”she was not “antisemitic or racist”.

Speaking exclusively to the JC, Mr Clegg said that Baroness Tonge had admitted herself that the comments were a “mistake”.

He said: “I’ve already made it quite clear that not only do I think it’s ludicrous and offensive but more than that, she’s admitted herself that she thinks it’s ludicrous to suggest an investigation is needed into something that is nonsense.

“She’s completely, totally wrong.

“My view is that a number of things Jenny Tonge has said are irresponsible and offensive but I do not believe she is antisemitic or racist. If I did, she wouldn’t be a Liberal Democrat.

“I believe it was stupid and wrong but not racist.

The organ theft allegations were published last week in online journal, the Palestine Telegraph, of which Baroness Tonge is a patron.

In a statement to the JC, Baroness Tonge said: "To prevent allegations such as these… the IDF should establish an independent inquiry immediately to clear the names of the team in Haiti”.

Last updated: 6:14pm, February 29 2012