Former health minister draws condemnation after tweet describing Italian team as ‘gorgeous even in wheelchairs’
Former health minister Edwina Currie was forced to defend herself against accusations she patronised Italian Paralympians by describing them as “gorgeous even in wheelchairs”.
Her comment, posted on Twitter, drew condemnation from other users of the website, but Currie insisted she was paying the entire Italian team a compliment.
In response to criticism of her post, she said: “Why shouldn’t we pay people who look good the compliment of saying so? That’s real equality, innit?”
She added that “they just all look good, natty suits, smooth geezers”.
The row began as the athletes paraded into the stadium during the opening ceremony.
One reply, from @mbisace. described the comment as “singularly the most offensive thing I have seen on Twitter”.
Another, from @jfraseruk, who is disabled, said “even in wheelchairs? wow – talk about insensitive”.
A comment from @SiouxsieMcB, asking “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.”
During the Olympic opening ceremony Tory MP Aidan Burley came under fire for calling Danny Boyle’s show “leftie multicultural crap”.