Former Tory health minister Edwina Currie has caused controversy after she said that Italian athletes taking part in the Paralympic Games were attractive, despite their disabilities.
"Italians are gorgeous even in wheelchairs. Love 'em," she tweeted on Wednesday evening during the opening ceremony of the Paralympics in London.
Her comment drew an instant backlash from other Twitter users who questioned whether the remark was insensitive.
One user, @Dr_star_T, said: "Even in wheelchairs? Not sure you've 'got' this whole disability thing". While another, @JayMcKenna87 added: "WOW. Words are impossible."
One reply, from @mbisace described the comment as "singularly the most offensive thing I have seen on Twitter".
Another, from Justin Berkovi, said Currie had made a "disgusting ignorant comment" while @jfraseruk, who is disabled, said "even in wheelchairs? wow - talk about insensitive".
A comment from @SiouxsieMcB, asking Currie "do you realise how patronising you sound" was met with the response from the former minister: "Get off with the patronising. Look at them: they are gorgeous, and they're in wheelchairs. I bet they'd agree."
Currie continued to defend her Tweet, insisting that she simply meant to pay them a compliment.
"They beat the Khazaks on looks, anyway. Why shouldn't we pay people who look good the compliment of saying so? That's real equality, innit?"
"They just all look good, natty suits, smooth geezers," she said, adding: "Will struggle to get PC expressions correct, but I mean well."
Currie is not the first politician to cause upset by Tweeting during the Olympics. Tory MP Aidan Burley caused outrage during the opening ceremony of the Olympics in July when he complained about "multi-cultural crap".
A connection not lost on many on Twitter including @politic_animal who said: "This evening, ladies and gentlemen, Edwina Currie will be appearing in the role of Aidan Burley."
While @welsh_gas_doc added: "Looks like @Edwina_Currie missed the memo from Conservative HQ about posting on Twitter tonight."
Gods & Monsters
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