A candidate for Alex Salmond's Alba party has been accused of racism over social media posts he made mocking "Romanian" homeless people and "gypsies" surfaced on the internet. 

Alex Arthur has also faced a backlash over comments he made about not wanting to take the coronavirus vaccine. 

Former boxing champion Arthur announced he is to stand as an MSP for the forthcoming Scottish election yesterday, having joined the newly-launched Alba party.

READ MORE: Salmond's Alba Party announces new SNP defector

However, his past remarks on Twitter have landed him in hot water. In one post he appeared to ridicule Romanian street beggars and compared them to "over fed pigs".

The post from January last year read: "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."

HeraldScotland:

He also 'liked' a post by another user which said "**** gypsies".

HeraldScotland:

In another tweet from February 26 this year, he appeared to play down vaccines Tweeting "I just don't believe I need it."

He wrote: "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."

HeraldScotland:

Mr Arthur won a gold medal for Scotland at the 1998 Commonwealth games and was crowned WBO super featherweight world champion in 2008.

Confronted by other social media users,Mr Arthur tried to back up his beggar comments, posting: "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."

One person, whose bio said they were an AIDS and Covid survivor, called out Mr Arthur's anti-vaxxer stance.

They said: "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?"

READ MORE: What is the Alba Party and who are its candidates?

Replying, Mr Arthur appeared to mock the AIDS survivor, saying: "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."

HeraldScotland:

Alex Arthur 

In a statement, Mr Arthur apologised "for any offence" and said it is his "fault for the wording", but claimed his beggar comments had been "misinterpreted".

He also said he is "not in anyway a racist" and vowed to work to help tackle homelessness.

He said: "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 destructions 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 anyway 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.

READ MORE: Alba Party - Pranksters hijacked Scottish internet address within hours

"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 my tongue, but I will mind it."