Local Tory chief says 'PM's suicide would cheer us up'

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A national charity has described a local Conservative leader as "beyond the pale" for claiming that people might be "cheered up" if the Prime Minister committed suicide.

The Samaritans said it was appalled to learn that Trevor Ivory, the chairman of Norwich South Conservatives, had posted the comments on his website following a speech by David Cameron, the Conservatives' leader.

In his online diary, Mr Ivory, 27, said that Mr Cameron had argued that governments cannot improve people's happiness, and added: "I agree entirely, although I think that Blair's resignation and suicide might cheer his own party (and the rest of us) up a little."

The comment emerged days after George Galloway, the Respect MP, said that it would be "morally justified" for a suicide bomber to kill Mr Blair in revenge for the war in Iraq.

A spokesman for The Samaritans, which offers support to suicidal people, said the comments made by the local Tory chairman were "inexcusable".

"It is clearly irresponsible to suggest that anyone should take their own life," the spokesman said.

"Suicide should be discussed in a serious and proper way. Anyone who suggests that someone should take their own life is beyond the pale, and for someone who is in a position of responsibility to do so is quite inexcusable."

Mr Ivory was unavailable for comment, but he told the Norwich Evening News that he had not intended to cause any offence.

"This was a light-hearted reference to a scene in the TV series Blackadder Goes Forth, intended to highlight the terminal decline in the public's trust and confidence in Blair," he told the newspaper.

He added: "I am sure it will be taken in the spirit in which it is intended."