Almost 500 people have signed a petition calling for the 'offensive' name of a pub to be changed.

Hundreds of Oxfordshire locals are signing a petition on calling for The Midget in Abingdon to be renamed.

Organiser Erin Pritchard said the owners Greene King "should recognise the offence of the term and its implications".

Greene King said the name is a reference to the MG Midget cars which were built at Abingdon in the 1930s.

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The petition states: "Midget is a derogatory word used towards people with dwarfism. It is a term derived from the word ‘midge’ meaning Gnat or Sand-fly, which is dehumanising.

"It was a term popularised during the Victorian freak show, but unfortunately continues to be used as a form of hate speech towards people with dwarfism.

"People with dwarfism, including children with the condition experience name calling on a daily basis. Furthermore, children with dwarfism experience high levels of bullying.

"As a result, people with dwarfism experience are nearly three times more likely to experience mental health issues than the general population. Thus, it is important to remove a term that is part of this problem."

She challenged Greene King's claims that the pub is named after the MG Midget car "as the name omits 'MG'".

"Furthermore, the origins of the name of that car come from freak show terminology, which is disablist hate speech and flouts the Equality Act," she said.

If Greene King wish to celebrate the car manufacturing history of the area they could use "a more appropriate name, such as Riley or Austin-Healey", she suggested.

The petition currently has 470 signatures and the next goal is 500.

Many people have commented on the petition to offer their support including several people with dwarfism. 

One said: "It’s hugely offensive for this day and age."

Another said: "My son has dwarfism and there us no need to call a pub this it is offensive!"

And a third added: "Why would you want to be called the M-word? I have all my life and it sucks!"

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According to Abingdon Blog, Lord Stokes, the chairman of British Leyland, opened the pub in December 1974 at a time when MGs were still made in Abingdon.

After a competition run by the Morland brewery and pub chain, the pub was originally named after a world famous Racing Car, designed and built in Abingdon in the 1930s – the MG EX 127, otherwise known as the Magic Midget.

Greene King took over over the Abingdon based Morland brewery and pubs in 2000 and the popular pub was redesigned in 2002.

Different bar areas were integrated to make one large bar and dining area, and it was renamed The Midget.

A Greene King spokeswoman said: “We are aware of the negative connotations connected with the word and would not want to offend or alienate our community in any way.

"The pub is named after the MG Midget Car, which is from the iconic motoring brand in Abingdon, MG, and the car is shown on the pub’s signage.”