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UKIP candidate apologises for HIV tweet

With social media playing an important role in the upcoming general election, you can be sure that all candidates have been warned by party whips over their conduct.

However, one of UKIP’s candidates has had to issue an apology after she seeming questioned the cost of treating people who have been diagnosed as HIV positive.

Tweeting earlier in the week, the  party’s candidate for Eastleigh, Patricia Culligan, seemed to claim that a Liberal Democrat, who was standing in a different constituency, had contracted HIV purposefully.

She tweeted that Paul Childs, a candidate in Liverpool Riverside, had “deliberately became HIV positive yet free NHS care v costly”.

In questioning the cost of care and treatment of British patients with HIV, Ms Culligan had gone further than the leader of UKIP, Nigel Farage.

He spoke out on the leaders’ live TV debate about foreigners with HIV. Raising the point of what is often referred to as ‘health tourism’, Farage said that foreign people coming to the UK with HIV should not receive free treatment on the NHS.

His comments were heavily derided by his fellow political party leaders during the debate, while further criticism followed on social media and in the press, both during the debate and immediately after.

At the time of writing, he has so far refused to back down or retract his comments.

Ms Culligan, however, has backtracked, first removing the tweet from her posts and then apologising for her error.

She has since posted a further tweet, “sincerely” apologising for causing any offence, which, she says, was unintended. She claimed that she had only posted the message because of misreading an article that had appeared on the Mail Online website about Mr Childs.

She added:

“I have nothing but sympathy for sufferers.”

The party also released a statement over the matter, stating that it had advised the candidate to retract her comment.

Steven Morris

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