THE Alba Party’s new “big hitter” has been forced to apologise after making a series of highly offensive comments on social media.

Former boxing champion Alex Arthur has been named as the latest list candidate for Alex Salmond’s new pro-independence party.

The former Commonwealth and WBO champion will contest the Lothian region in the upcoming Holyrood election.

However, shortly after the announcement was made last night, several highly offensive tweets were discovered on his Twitter profile which had either been written or liked by Arthur.

They included disparaging remarks about “beggars”, Gypsies and AIDS patients, as well as posts claiming he doesn’t need to get a coronavirus vaccine.

In January last year, he 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!”

After the tweets came to light, the former boxer doubled down. He posted last night: “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.”

Arthur also raised doubts about the Covid-19 vaccination in response to reports that over-40s are to be prioritised in the next phase of the rollout. “Yes! I’m going to be ok,” he tweeted in February. “Oh wait I’m not fat or unhealthy with no underlying issues. Keep yer jab!”

In another tweet from that month he again raised doubts about the vaccine, claiming: "I just don't believe I need it."

Arthur added: "I’d rather not take an injection for something my perfectly good immune system can fight of quite easily. I was happy my parents & grandparents got it. I just don’t believe I need it."

One person, who described themselves as an AIDS and Covd survivor, hit back at the claim.

The replied: "It's people like you that's the main reason the virus is spreading. Would you be able to justify your opinion to someone who's having life threatening treatment delayed because of covid?"

Arthur appeared to mock them in response, tweeting: "There is not solid evidence that the vaccine stops you spreading the virus. Although condoms prevent you spreading viruses, maybe you should have thought of that. Don't throw stones wee man."

The National:

READ MORE: Boxing champ not the last to throw hat into Alba ring as deadline looms

The former boxer has now apologised for “any unintended offence”.

In a statement issued on social media, he wrote: “I am a working class boxer who shoots from the hip. I don't have spin doctors. But I want to clarify some points, and apologise for any offence that could have been avoided if I'd thought more about my words.

“We were told that there was no evidence that the vaccine stops transmission, and as a young and healthy man I am not in any of the risk groups. Since then it's become clear that vaccinations are working, and are the way we will get out of this pandemic and all of the destruction it's causing.

“Any comments about beggars that now look inappropriate are being misinterpreted, but that is my fault for the wording. I am not in any way racist as anyone who knows me will confirm. I have an issue with genuine homelessness whoever it is, and will work to help tackle that. I have seen first-hand the damage that poverty causes.”

Arthur continued: “I apologise for any unintended offence, but do not want it to distract from my central cause which is ALL of the people who live in Scotland. I can add a lot of real life experience that professional politicians don't have, and we can't leave things to people who have never put a foot wrong.

“I will make no further comment On this, much as people want to cause me trouble for their own purposes.

“Now that I am trying to be a politician, I will not hold mytongue, but I will mind it.”