OXFORD University has hit back at the Prime Minister for quoting “highly misleading” figures on the number of black students admitted to the prestigious institution.

David Cameron had said it was “disgraceful” that only one black student began studying at Oxford last year.

But a spokesman for the university said the figure only referred to UK undergraduates of black Caribbean origin starting courses in 2009/10. There were an additional 26 students who said they were of black origin, and another 14 of mixed black descent.

The spokesman said: “The figure quoted by the Prime Minister is incorrect and highly misleading – it only refers to UK undergraduates of black Caribbean origin for a single year of entry, when in fact that year Oxford admitted 41 UK undergraduates with black backgrounds.”

Mr Cameron made the comment as he attended a PM Direct event in North Yorkshire with his wife, Samantha. He was being questioned about tuition fees and the effect they might have on deterring students from poorer backgrounds.