London (AFP) - The Economist on Thursday backed the Liberal Democrats in Britain's upcoming general election, saying the main Conservative and Labour parties had "turned away" from liberalism.
The news and business weekly said it had faced a "dismal choice", but opted for the Lib Dems, who currently only have nine MPs, because it best represented the publication's free market and pro-European Union values.
The Economist backed the Conservative Party of former prime minister David Cameron in 2015, but refused to support successor Theresa May due to her hardline stance on Brexit and immigration.
"The Tories would be much better than Labour. But they, too, would raise the drawbridge," it said in an editorial.
"Mrs May plans to leave the EU's single market... Worse, she insists on cutting net migration by nearly two-thirds.
"Her illiberal instincts go beyond her suspicion of globally footloose 'citizens of nowhere'," it added.
At the Conservative Party conference in October, May said: "If you believe you're a citizen of the world, you're a citizen of nowhere. You don't understand what the very word 'citizenship' means."
The Economist delivered an even more critical assessment of Labour under veteran leftist Jeremy Corbyn, saying he "poses as a radical but is the most conservative -- and the most dangerous -- of the lot".
"No economic liberal, Mr Corbyn does not much value personal freedom either," said the editorial.
"Corbyn has spent a career claiming to stand for the oppressed while backing oppressors" such as Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, it added.
The publication admitted that the Liberal Democrats were "going nowhere" in this election, but said it hoped the party would become part of a "radical centre," if the "whirlwind unleashed by Brexit" tears apart the main parties.