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Mencap Expresses Dismay At UKIP Council Candidate’s Downs Abortion Comments

December 18, 2012

I seem to have missed this. Let me use this post to express my dismay at these comments and to say that now I have a reason to strongly dislike UKIP.

A disability charity has expressed dismay after a Ukip candidate suggested forcing mothers carrying foetuses with Downs syndrome or spina bifida to have abortions to avoid the child being “a burden on the state as well as on the family”.

In a self-styled “personal manifesto” on his own website, Geoffrey Clarke – who is seeking seats on Kent county council and Gravesham council in a byelection later this month, as well as to Ukip’s national executive – said there should be a review into various drastic measures to reduce spending on the NHS, such as “giving free euthanasia advice to all folk over 80 years of age”.

Among the other ideas listed for discussion was “compulsory abortion when the foetus is detected as having Downs, spina bifida or similar syndrome which, if it is born, will render the child a burden on the state as well as on the family”.

In a “clarification to avoid confusion and misrepresentation” on the website Clarke, a 66-year-old chartered accountant, stressed that neither he nor Ukip specifically endorsed the ideas, adding: “They are suggestions of matters for the review body to properly consider, in light of the stated desire of all political parties to reduce the national debt.”

The manifesto was condemned by Mencap, which campaigns for people with learning disabilities. Mark Goldring, the charity’s chief executive, said Mencap was “disgusted and horrified”. He continued: “Much has been written about the Paralympics this summer changing attitudes towards disabled people for the better. Yet in the very same year, a council candidate has proposed forced eugenics against disabled people.

“It is abhorrent that Geoffrey Clarke sees disabled people solely as a burden, when people with a learning disability lead full lives, and make valuable contributions to their communities and families. We question if he is fit for public office.”

Clarke’s manifesto contains a number of other ideas that will raise eyebrows among Ukip hierarchy as the party attempts to enter the mainstream and shed its image as, in David Cameron’s now revoked words, “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists”.

On immigration he calls for the immediate deportation of “riff raff” elements, demands the revision of passages of the Koran and quotes seven verses of a self-penned poem about defending British culture titled, We Must Turn The Tide, And Then Advance.

Clarke told the Guardian that he did not support the forced abortion idea but did want to create a debate on how the NHS could be financed in the future. He said: “Those are suggestions for a review body to consider when they look into whether the NHS is affordable in the future. I do tend to provoke thought by throwing out ideas. I do like to be provocative.

“But they’re not necessarily my views. I’m throwing out matters for the review body to consider. I’m not qualified to consider them. Therefore they are not my views, as I don’t have the qualification to hold those views.”

Clarke said he apologised for any offence. Asked if he regretted raising the idea he said: “I regret articulating it in the way I have, and I’m going to rewrite it.”

Clarke said he knew one person with Downs syndrome and thought he knew one person with Spina bifida. Neither were a burden on their families or the state, he said.

Updated 9pm: I’m very pleased to read he’s been suspended!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 18, 2012 6:37 pm

    I am revolted by this man and his views. I emailed him to express courteous outrage and request clarification but have not heard back as yet. He seems at the end of this article to still be harping on about a burden to the state even as he is attempting to row back. He should be ashamed.

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