Outrage after Ukip candidate backed compulsory Down’s abortions

A Ukip local elections candidate who suggested foetuses with debilitating syndromes could be automatically aborted has been suspended from the party.

Geoffrey Clark, who was seeking election in an upcoming by-election for Kent county council, made the call in his personal manifesto – but was initially supported by his party.

The manifesto stated that Britain's national debt could be reduced by lowering the health costs associated with babies born with complications.

He proposed "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".

Initially Ukip supported Clark, saying its candidates have a range of views.

But as anger mounted yesterday evening it reversed its position and suspended him from the party.

"Ukip reject the abhorrent views expressed in the personal manifesto of Mr Geoffrey Clark, a candidate in the local elections," a spokesperson said.

"The party was not aware of these views when it allowed him to stand under our name."

Clark was also seeking election to Ukip's national executive committee.

Learning disability charity Mencap's chief executive Mark Goldring commented: "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 Clark 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."