UKIP Parliamentary Candidate for Manchester Withington, Mark Davies, has committed another alleged gaffe by referring to disabled people as ‘the weak’.
In response to a question regarding cuts to disabled people’s living allowances, Davies said: “[UKIP] believe that society should treat the weak humanely.”
After Davies repeatedly referred to disabled people as ‘the weak’, Jeff Smith, the Labour candidate for the same seat, pointed out to Davies that his remarks may have been offensive, and began his own answer: “I don’t believe that Davies meant to call disabled people weak.”
Davies attempted to deny that he called the disabled weak to which Smith replied: “No, that is exactly what you said.” In addition to this, Davies also argued that the gender pay gap is a matter of fact and that if people “are going to go away,” then they deserve to be paid less. Likening pregnancy to taking an extended holiday, Davies gave the example of losing contacts and thus being unable to provide customers with adequate service.
Davies was repeatedly interrupted during his reply to a question on gender inequality, as audience members took issue with his use of the phrase ‘going away’. An audience member shouted that he could say pregnancy and if he was referring to pregnancy then he should do so explicitly. Davies ignored these remarks and continued referring to ‘going away’ throughout his response.
Tuesday’s Manchester Withington Candidates debate, at which the statement was made, was part of the University of Manchester Students’ Union’s campaign to increase student voting levels. The hustings were chaired by current General Secretary Charlotte Cook and the event was organised by Campaigns & Citizenship Officer, Conor McGurran.
Former MP and Liberal Democrat candidate John Leech also came under fire from audience members for comments made in an email about rapes in his constituency, whilst Green Party candidate Lucy Bannister was unable to make the event due to prior commitments and was represented by a Green Party activist. The Conservative Party candidate Robert Manning was also in attendance.