JO Swinson, East Dunbartonshire LibDem MP, and contender for her party’s leadership has been criticised for figures she used highlighting the attainment gap between affluent areas in her constituency and Govan in Glasgow.

On BBC’s Question Time, the MP said: “I represent a very middle class affluent constituency and in one of the towns 80% of young children go to university. Five or six miles down the road in Glasgow Govan it’s 4%.

“That’s because of the lack of investment or aspiration of young people that grow up and don’t even think this is an option for them.”

But Ms Swinson has been using two different sets of statistics to make the attainment gap look even wider than it actually is.

Glasgow SNP politicians have responded showing Ms Swinson that Govan High School’s most recent figures show 23% of leavers go on to higher education.

Susan Aitken leader of Glasgow City Council has written to the MP saying her statement “is not true”

She added: “While you might think that attendance at university is the only measure of success, that thinking is outdated. Going on to further education or the Open University, entering straight into the workplace or modern apprenticeships are all worthwhile, positive destinations for people in our city.”

Ms Swinson said her figures were from the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation which shows that “the proportion of 17-21 year olds entering into full time higher education in Govan and Linthouse ranged between 0% and 4%”.

However, using the same data for East Dunbartonshire, represented by Ms Swinson the corresponding data ranges from 3% in part of Lennoxtown to 33% in Kilmardinny.

When asked by the Evening times about her selective use of statistics, Ms Swinson said: “It is a fact that many more young people in Bearsden go to university than go from Govan.

“The Scottish Government’s own statistics bear that out. Closing the attainment gap is supposed to be the SNP’s priority. They should be ashamed.

“Barriers in the system are preventing young people from having equal opportunities in life, regardless of their postcode.

“This journey starts with early education and it is the best investment government can make to transform a child’s life chances.”