Liberals say Ford's star London candidate 'has to go' after racist and sexist comments surface from 2016

The Ontario Liberals are suggesting Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford replace Andrew Lawton, Ford's hand-picked candidate in London West, after the Liberals have unearthed more recent racist and sexist comments made by the former media personality during his time with Rebel Media.

Liberals say 'Doug Ford has until tomorrow to replace Andrew Lawton on the Conservative ballot'

Andrew Lawton in his first sit down interview since some deleted tweets that made remarks about women, Islam and the LGBTQ community. (Colin Butler/CBC News)

The Ontario Liberals are suggesting Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford replace Andrew Lawton, Ford's hand-picked candidate in London West, after the Liberals revealed more recent racist and sexist comments made by the former media personality during his time with Rebel Media. 

This fresh round of controversy follows a number of other questionable comments made by Lawton on social media about women, Islam and the LGBTQ community, which he blames on his struggle with mental illness. 

"We can go line-by-line through these things, but the fact of the matter is these do not represent who I am today," the former radio host told CBC London in an exclusive sit-down interview last week. 

On Wednesday, the Ontario Liberals published yet more controversial remarks made by the PC candidate for London West during his time as a contributor for Rebel Media, a right-wing political and social commentary website, made as recently as 2016.

The party provided a link to a YouTube video that is an edited compilation of comments Lawton made with Rebel Media, against a backdrop of sinister music. 

The news release also threw down a gauntlet at the feet of PC leader Doug Ford, suggesting he oust Lawton from the party fold, something Ford did to former leadership rival Tanya Granic Allen after she made homophobic comments that Ford called "irresponsible."

"May 17th is the deadline to nominate candidates with Elections Ontario, meaning that Doug Ford has until tomorrow to replace Andrew Lawton on the Conservative ballot," a news release published Wednesday by Ontario Liberal party campaign chair and former Liberal MPP for London North Centre Deb Matthews said.

"Refusal to do so can only mean that Doug Ford is comfortable with the views expressed by Mr. Lawton."

Doug Ford spokeswoman Melissa Lantsman responded by email Wednesday, saying Ford is sticking by his star London candidate. 

"During [Lawton's] time on radio he made some unfortunate comments," she wrote. "He doesn't agree with these comments, they are unacceptable. Lawton has apologized for his past statements." 

About the Author

Colin Butler

Video Journalist

Colin Butler is a veteran CBC reporter who's worked in Moncton, Saint John, Fredericton, Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo, Hamilton and London, Ont. Email: colin.butler@cbc.ca