1. ITV Report

Ukip candidate suspended over 'compulsory abortion' manifesto

The Ukip party has recently been enjoying a boost in its opinion poll. Photo: teve Parsons/PA Wire/Press Association Images

A UK Independence Party candidate has been suspended over suggestions that compulsory abortion should be considered for foetuses with Down's syndrome or spina bifida.

In Geoffrey Clark's online manifesto he said that, if born, children with the conditions would become "a burden on the state as well as on the family".

Mr Clark's manifesto also included the termination of babies among potential NHS cost cutting measures and, in so doing, sparked outrage.

Ukip initially backed Mr Clark and said he would make an "excellent councillor". It said members held "a range of views and opinions" that were not party policy and that while it disagreed with much of the document, it was a "personal manifesto."

A spokesman said in a later statement that the views of the would-be Kent county councillor, who is also contesting a Gravesham Borough Council by-election on Thursday, were "abhorrent".

Ukip reject the abhorrent views expressed in the personal manifesto of Mr Geoffrey Clark, a candidate in the local elections.We can confirm that Mr Clark has been formally suspended as a Ukip candidate and will not be standing for the party again.We would like to apologise to anyone who has suffered distress as a result of this matter.

– UKIP spokesman

Learning disability charity Mencap said it was "disgusted and horrified" by the manifesto and questioned whether he was fit for office.

In a statement added to his website, Mr Clark said that neither he nor the party endorsed any of the ideas which were simply suggestions for a review of public spending. He later apologised for any offence caused by views which he described as "honestly held and ... intended to be thought-provoking".

He told the This Is Kent news website: "Ukip's policy is to reduce public expenditure. I am a layman, I do not know what should be cut. I wrote my website very, very quickly, it was so naive and foolish.