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Councillor's wife apologises for offensive remarks
THE WIFE of a Southampton politician as has said sorry after she made offensive remarks about some of the city’s residents on the Daily Echo’s website.
Anthea Thorpe, wife of the city’s environment and transport boss Cllr Asa Thorpe, caused outrage when she described them as “cretins” and labelled them “bigoted” and “inbred”.
But under-fire Mrs Thorpe has now issued the apology to residents the Daily Echo requested – and admitted her choice of words “was not the best”.
Her scathing remarks had been posted anonymously under a username – but the Daily Echo revealed Mrs Thorpe’s identity .
She was responding to comments made on the Echo website about the axing of her father, David Atwill, from his job as New Forest District Council’s spin doctor.
In a cutting attack, she wrote: “It’s so amusing to see that the petty-minded, bigoted, inbred of Southampton have decided to have their say on here! I only wish that the rest of you led fulfilling and worthwhile lives, but I expect in truth you do not. I sincerely hope that your working lives are touched with redundancy and then you will truly know how it feels to be abandoned by your colleagues and career that has served you well . . . this man has given more to society than portrayed in this newspaper, but you cretins who are quick to stand and point will never realise this, get a life.”
This website post – made in February 2011 just three months before her husband was elected – was followed last month by posts from Mrs Thorpe about long-serving cemetery superintendent Jim Emery.
Mr Emery, 60, is set to lose his job of 26 years after Cllr Thorpe said he was powerless to reverse a decision to axe the position.
The tone of Mrs Thorpe’s comments on this subject angered campaigners fighting to help the long-serving cemetery superintendent.
Today’s apology, contained in a statement to the Daily Echo , addresses her February 2011 post regarding her father’s lost job.
Mrs Thorpe states: “My comments were directed at the people making those offensive remarks about my dad, and them alone – not the citizens of Southampton”.
She adds: “The Daily Echo Opinion called for me to apologise. I am sorry if anyone did take offence at my comment. In hindsight, I admit that on this occasion, my choice of words was not the best. However, at the time I was angry and I was upset that these people were making offensive and insensitive comments about my dad. Maybe you would have felt the same way if it had been your dad”.
Daily Echo reader David Extance, who became involved in a war of words with Mrs Thorpe over Mr Emery’s proposed redundancy, said people in her position had to exercise care.
He said: “She has got to respect her husband’s position as a councillor and Cabinet member.”
Anthea Thorpe's statement in full
“I am a wife, mum and daughter, and I love and am proud of my family. I am also proud to be a Southampton resident. I love our city – it is where I have spent most of my life.
In a headline on page six of Saturday’s Daily Echo, I was accused of labelling Southampton residents as ‘cretins, bigots, and inbreds’. I believe this was a distortion of the facts.
As was accurately reported in the article, 18 months ago my father was axed from his post as communications chief at the New Forest District Council.
This story appeared on the Daily Echo website and it prompted offensive comments by some who posted on the story.
As the Daily Echo Opinion column stated on Saturday, everyone is entitled to their opinion. I agree that it is a fundamental principle of democracy, of fairness, of common decency.
Unfortunately, the people making the comments about my father were, in my opinion, acting in a manner that was anything but fair. I am proud of my dad and I went on to the Echo website to defend him, albeit without stating my name.
Yes, I did use the words: “It’s so amusing to see that the petty-minded, bigoted, inbred of Southampton have decided to have their say on here!” My comments were directed at the people making those offensive remarks about my dad, and them alone – not the citizens of Southampton.
The Daily Echo Opinion called for me to apologise. I am sorry if anyone did take offence at my comment. In hindsight, I admit that on this occasion, my choice of words was not the best. However, at the time I was angry and I was upset that these people were making offensive and insensitive comments about my dad. Maybe you would have felt the same way if it had been your dad.
I stand by my statement, published on page seven of Saturday’s Daily Echo, which explained why I decided to defend my husband in the light of recent comments made on the Daily Echo website, and which also explained how the comments that have been made have distressed me and my family. I am truly sorry that it should have come to this.”