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by Niall Christie
A NEWLY announced candidate for Alex Salmond’s Alba Party has been forced to apologise over anti-vax tweets and criticism of homeless people.
Former Commonwealth WBO super-featherweight world champion boxer Alex Arthur announced on Monday that he is to stand as an MSP in May’s Holyrood election on the Lothians list.
Mr Arthur will be one of the high-profile candidates in Mr Salmond’s new party, which is hoping to gain regional votes from the SNP in an attempt to win a pro-independence “supermajority.”
But just hours after his announcement, he was forced to apologise for social media activity mocking Romanian homeless people and “gypsies.”
In January last year, Mr Arthur posted: “Them Romanian beggars in Edinburgh ain’t hungry!! Just drove past them all ready to switch up begging posts and ALL em fat as big juicy over fed pigs [sic].”
Now the Alba candidate has defended himself, claiming: “I actually have Romanian friends, some here, some in Romania. And they have warned me about certain beggars in certain areas and how they rotate.”
The former boxer has also faced criticism for claiming online that he did not want the coronavirus vaccine and for liking a tweet that read: “Fuck gypsies.”
On Monday he published his apology, saying he was not in “any way racist” but was a “working-class boxer who shoots from the hip.”
He said he wanted to “apologise for any offence that could have been avoided if I’d thought more about my words” and said it has now become clear that vaccines are working.
Mr Arthur also said his comments on “beggars that now look inappropriate are being misinterpreted,” adding he has “an issue with genuine homelessness,” having seen first-hand “the damage that poverty causes.”
Former SNP MP George Kerevan became the latest high-profile figure to defect to the new party today, following the move of serving ex-SNP MPs Neale Hanvey and Kenny MacAskill.
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