JO Swinson has branded Donald Trump a "bully, misogynist and a racist" and insisted the US President should not be offered a state visit to Britain.

The outspoken remarks of the Liberal Democrat deputy leader came as Sir Vince Cable made clear he thought it “perfectly plausible” that he could become Prime Minister and replace Theresa May in No 10 as voters turned to his party’s “moderate and common-sense alternative”.

In her keynote speech to the party conference in Bournemouth, Ms Swinson warned of the return of the "politics of the bully", saying "Faragey, Trumpy, angry, arsey, shouty, slogans aren't a solution to anything".

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The East Dunbartonshire MP called for a bold new approach to tackling populist politics, including a fresh vote on Brexit.

She claimed the American President was a product of "anti-liberal forces", declaring: "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.

"Yet the Conservative Government thinks it is right to offer Trump the honour of a state visit to the UK. They are wrong. It is a sign of our weakness in a Brexit world.

"How easily will our values be cast aside in our desperation to sign trade deals to avoid economic catastrophe?" she asked.

Downing Street has maintained the Trump state visit remains on the agenda, although it is now not likely to happen this year.

Ms Swinson argued that global politics seemed broken "when calm heads and brave leaders are needed more than ever".

She added: "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.

"The politics of the bully is back. Human rights are trampled. Climate change is denied. Hate and division are spread like poison into society.”

Earlier, Sir Vince said his intention to replace Mrs May in No 10 was “perfectly plausible, actually”.

The 74-year-old party leader "As leader of the third UK party, my job is to be the alternative Prime Minister. British politics is in a remarkable state of flux. You have got the Conservative Party in an open civil war;[a] complete breakdown of discipline.

"You have got the Labour Party in a suppressed civil war. They had a good election and Jeremy Corbyn is currently riding high. But, we know under the surface there is enormous discontent about the extreme left. I, and my party, are the alternative."

Asked if the Lib Dems could get a Commons majority, Sir Vince said: "It's possible that we could break through. If British party politics starts to break up, if the traditional structures start to break up, and that could well happen, we are extremely well positioned with moderate, sensible policies.

"I am very confident talking about being an alternative prime minister."

Sir Ed Davey, the party’s home affairs spokesman, also talked up Sir Vince's Downing Street ambitions; something his predecessor, Tim Farron never had, insisting at the last election he wanted to be Leader of the Opposition.

He told Sky News: "Under Vince we have someone who is seen as a future prime minister. If you put him up against Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn, the majority of people would rather have Vince in Number 10 because he comes with huge credibility, particularly on the economy."

The former Business Secretary is using his party’s conference to position the Lib Dems as the voice of Remain voters as he rejected talk of the possibility of a soft Brexit.

Sir Vince said public opinion had not changed much since the Brexit referendum but it would once the economic reality of withdrawal from the EU sank in.

He said voters should be offered a “first referendum on the facts” once the terms of a Brexit deal were known so that the UK could vote on the option of staying in the EU.

Last week, the Lib Dem leader told The Herald how the SNP, which also wants to see the UK remain in the EU, should back his party’s aim to get a second vote on Brexit.