Liberal Democrat leadership hopeful Sir Ed Davey has apologised after suggesting he would "decapitate" Boris Johnson if a snap election were called.
In a column for the Times, Sir Ed wrote: "I hereby float the idea of a remain alliance to decapitate that blond head in Uxbridge and South Ruislip if Johnson calls a snap election to deliver Brexit."
But the politician faced a backlash to his remarks, with his leadership rival Jo Swinson accusing him of "resorting to graphic, violent imagery".
“This is not language I would use, and in the current climate I don’t think we should speak in those terms," she said.
"Boris will be a disaster for this country, but we can make that case without resorting to violent language."
Boris Johnson supporter and Conservative MP Nigel Evans also criticised Sir Ed's wording, branding it "totally inappropriate".
In an apology posted to Twitter, Sir Ed said he had been "careless" in the article.
"I recognise this wasn't an acceptable choice of phrase and I'm sorry," he wrote.
"This was careless use of language, meant in electoral sense and in no way literally. Whilst we should be robust in our opposition, we do have to carefully consider impact of our words and I failed to do that."
The new Lib Dem leader is to be announced on July 23, the same week as the Conservative Party elect their new leader and Prime Minister.