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Neil Hamilton criticised for ‘personal attack’ on teenage climate campaigner Greta Thunberg

Neil Hamilton, the leader of UKIP in Wales, has been criticised for sharing an altered image of teenage climate change activist Greta Thunberg on Twitter.

In the post, Mr Hamilton – who is sceptical of climate change – said: “It’s shaping up to be the hottest day of the year – please remember: No electric fans, DEFINITELY no air conditioning, Great has spoken #ClimateHoax”.

The tweet included a photograph of the 16-year-old in which her eyes had been altered, alongside the caption: “Have you done anything this week that Greta might disapprove of?”

Sally Holland, the Children’s Commissioner, said she was “mortified” that a politician in Wales “would make a personal attack on a child on social media”.

She said: “I have written to Mr Hamilton today expressing my disappointment in his failure to uphold high standards of public conduct”.

Greta Thunberg, from Sweden, is the inspiration behind the global school climate change strikes and earlier this year she addressed thousands of Extinction Rebellion supporters gathered in London.

But the teenager has become a target for some on social media, who are sceptical of her methods and beliefs.

Responding to the criticism, Mr Hamilton described Greta Thunberg as “fair game” for public criticism and called for the Children’s Commissioner role to be abolished.

Greta has very publicly entered the adult realm of political controversy. If cabinet ministers such as Michael Gove take the opinions of this 16-year-old seriously then public criticism of her should be fair game.

Miss Thunberg is currently pushing for policies estimated to cost the UK taxpayer £1 trillion which will hit the poorest the hardest.

– NEIL HAMILTON AM

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