by Stephen Tall on July 25, 2010
The Cumbrian News and Star reports on rising star Tory MP Rory Stewart’s fulsome apology following some bizarrely gauche comments about his constiutuency to a journalist, including the remark: “Some areas around here are pretty primitive, people holding up their trousers with bits of twine and that sort of thing.”
His local paper says that the Tory MP’s put-downs:
… have been branded as arrogant and crass and the 37-year-old has since admitted he was ‘extremely foolish’. He said his remarks were merely meant to illustrate how some areas of the county were living in real poverty.
I have some, limited sympathy with Mr Stewart – I can understand the wish to exaggerate to make a point about northern rural poverty to a London-based metropolitan reporter. The “primitive” gaffe smacks of limited political media experience, I suspect, rather than a deliberate sneer.
However, his decision to invoke a real-life tragedy to illustrate his points with a colourful anecdote is undoubtedly tasteless:
I was in one village where a local kid was run over by a tractor. They took him to Carlisle but they couldn’t be bothered to wait at the hospital. So they put him in a darkened room for two weeks then said he was fine. But I’m not so sure he was.”
Today’s Mirror quotes the family in question:
Derek Daley, 76, whose son Noel died after his motorbike collided with a tractor, said: “I take great umbrage at what Mr Stewart has said. It is extremely distasteful.”