A former Sussex councillor and UKIP Parliamentary candidate has caused outrage after blaming the death of a child on his parents.
Peter Bucklitsch, a former councillor for Wealden District Council and Crowborough Town Council said three-year-old Aylan Kurdi died because his parents were “greedy for the good life.”
He wrote on Twitter: “The little Syrian boy was well clothed and well fed.
“He died because his parents were greedy for the good life in Europe. Queue jumping costs.”
Mr Bucklitsch made his comments after widespread reaction to photos taken of Aylan Kurdi’s drowned body on a Turkish beach.
A Syrian refugee, the three-year-old died alongside his five-year-old brother Galip, his mother Rehan and 10 others when their boat to Greece capsized. His father Abdullah survived.
The family is reported to have been fleeing Islamic State violence in Syria.
The comments, which have been retweeted more than 400 times, has led to widespread criticism of the former councillor.
Footballer Stan Collymore wrote: “What a truly awful thing to say @bucklitsch . Let’s hope your family never know adversity or war.”
Another user writes: “A child died and your callousness is shocking. You seem unaware of Assad’s bombs & gas attacks.”
Despite the backlash to his comments Mr Bucklitsch is firm in his position.
He writes: “Predictable unthinking outrage. Turkey is not a place where the family was in danger. Leaving that safe place put the family in peril.”
An accountant, Mr Bucklitsch served on Wealden District Council from 1994 to 1999 and on Crowborough Town council from 2004 to 2008.
A former Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for South Thanet in 2010, Mr Bucklitsch joined UKIP standing as a parliamentary candidate in Wimbledon in 2015.
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