Tory MP Rory Stewart 'sorry for foolish remarks'

A tory MP who described some of his constituents as "primitive people holding up their trousers with bits of twine" admitted his remarks had been "extremely foolish".

Rory Stewart, who represents Penrith and the Borders, also made a joke about local people failing to get medical help for a boy run over by tractor.

The Eton-educated ex-soldier and diplomat insisted his comments were aimed at debunking the idea that Cumbria was a wealthy area that could afford spending cuts.

But he said he was "very sad" about the outcry they had caused.

In a newspaper interview earlier this week, Mr Stewart said: "Some areas around here are pretty primitive, people holding up their trousers with bits of twine and that sort of thing.

"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."

Mr Stewart, who was elected to the Commons for the first time in May, is a former deputy governor of an Iraqi province and once walked across Afghanistan visiting villages.

He told the Carlisle News and Star: "I'm obviously very sad about this.

"What I was trying to get across to the journalist is that he, and many people in London, are trying to portray Cumbria as an area that is very wealthy and comfortable. That's very dangerous when (we are) facing cuts.

"What I was trying to get across was not derogatory about people but that we have real needs here, we have communities that are very poor.

"It was an extremely foolish thing for me to say."

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