‘Tories are vermin’ Tweet sparks row

PUBLISHED: 06:00 13 May 2013

Cllr Kieran Thorpe

Cllr Kieran Thorpe


LABOUR’S leader on Welwyn Hatfield Council has defended branding Conservatives “vermin”.

Councillor Kieran Thorpe made the remarks on Twitter in the build-up to this month’s county elections.

He tweeted: “Reports of vermin in the sibthorpe arms in #welhamgreen, have been reassuring residents its only the local #Tories”.

The comments met with a furious response from Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps who called on Cllr Thorpe to withdraw his comments and apologise.

Mr Shapps said: “I thought it was immature and insulting to Welwyn Hatfield residents who happen to support hardworking local Conservatives.

“His latest gaffe comes just a couple of weeks after the local Labour leader’s disrespectful walk-out, when councillors held a minute’s silence in the council chamber [in honour of Baroness Thatcher].

“I don’t think there is any place for this kind of rudeness in our community.

“It sets a very poor example to young people who might be interested in public service.”

But Cllr Thorpe refused to back down and said: “The founder of the NHS, Aneurin Bevan, famously said in 1945, that he considered the Tories ‘lower than vermin’.

“Given the Oxford [English] Dictionary defines vermin as: ‘people perceived as despicable and as causing problems for the rest of society’, then I believe it is not unfair to collectively use this term in 2013.”

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