Three people told Left Foot Forward they heard the remarks.
A UKIP candidate in the European elections has been accused of calling 16-year old climate activist Greta Thunberg “aspergers girl”.
Scottish candidate Otto Inglis has been accused of making the comments during a hustings in the town of Linlithgow.
While no video of the hustings has been found, three people have told Left Foot Forward that they heard the comments.
Green candidate Maggie Chapman said Inglis, a climate science denier, had accused the other candidates of religiously following that “aspergers girl” despite what the science says.
Chapman said: “I was utterly appalled to hear the UKIP candidate describe Greta Thunberg as that “aspergers girl”.
“To be a climate breakdown denier in the face of all the evidence around the world, including in Scotland, is just ridiculous.”
“But to describe a young woman who has done so much to raise awareness of the climate crisis we face in such a way is insulting, offensive, and completely inappropriate for anyone, nevermind someone seeking elected public office.”
“Greta Thunberg and the thousands of young people have been leading the call for urgent action to tackle climate breakdown. We would all do well to heed their demands to do things differently: to reimagine our economy and create a different kind of politics.”
“We must act, urgently, to create a liveable future for us all. That includes treating each individual with dignity and respect, not labelling them according to any condition they may have.”
Peter McColl, a former rector at Edinburgh University, was also at the hustings.
He told Left Foot Forward that he challenged Inglis’s comment and Inglis replied: “But that’s what she is”.
Conservative candidate Andrea Gee also condemned Inglis. She told Left Foot Forward:
“I was disappointed by this description of Greta Thunberg. No one should be defined in this way. Respecting others and valuing their contribution to society is very important to me and is a platform I stand on as a politician”.
The Liberal Democrat candidate Fred Mckintosh said he didn’t hear Inglis’s comment because at the time he was complaining to someone else about Inglis being a climate change denier.
However, Mckintosh said others heard the UKIP candidate make a slur about her being “an aspergers kid” and saying he disliked the “quasi saint like” treatment of her.
SNP European candidate Alex Kerr said:
“Greta Thunberg is a remarkable young woman whose efforts in encouraging more action on climate change across the globe have been absolutely exemplary.
“Abuse in politics is never acceptable, but for someone seeking to be elected to represent Scotland in the EU to speak this way about a young person is completely inappropriate.”
Inglis has previously criticised a Scottish government campaign against hate crime, calling it “cultural marxist identity politics”.
Polling indicates that, with just 2% of the vote, UKIP are highly unlikely to get an MEP elected in Scotland.
The Brexit Party, on the other hand, are expected to get 20% of the vote and win two MEPs.
At the time of publication, Otto Inglis and UKIP had not replied to a request for comment.
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