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David Cameron Apologises After Ed Balls Tourettes Remark

January 8, 2012

David Cameron strikes again. Knowing his record on such things, personally I find it very hard to be comforted by his apology.

David Cameron has apologised for saying facing shadow chancellor Ed Balls in Parliament was “like having someone with Tourette’s sitting opposite you”.

Mr Cameron initially made his comments in a Sunday Telegraph interview.

Nicky Clark, a campaigner whose daughter has Tourette syndrome, said the comments showed “a lack of understanding from our prime minister”.

Downing Street said the prime minister was sorry if he caused any offence, and did not mean to offend at all.

A spokeswoman added that the remark was made “off the cuff”.

Tourette syndrome is a neurological disorder characterised by tics – involuntary, rapid, sudden movements that occur repeatedly.

It can be particularly debilitating because the vocal tics can include the uncontrollable use of obscene language – known as coprolalia – and repetition of phrases the person hears others use – called echolalia.

During his interview, Mr Cameron said of Mr Balls: “He just annoys me. But I’m very bad, in the House of Commons, at not getting distracted, and the endless, ceaseless banter, it’s like having someone with Tourette’s permanently sitting opposite you.”

Mrs Clark told BBC 5 live’s Breakfast show that “comments like this compound the myths and the stereotypes surrounding people with Tourette’s in Britain”.

She added: “If we’re supposed to look to him as some kind of lead, is this the best we can expect and disabled people expect?”

“This comment comes in the middle of a piece about a fairer Britain. How fair is Britain going to be for disabled people if this is the lead we get from Downing Street?

“This shows an utter disregard for the condition and a lack of understanding from our prime minister.”

2 Comments leave one →
  1. James Heyward permalink
    January 8, 2012 11:46 am

    I don’t understand Nicky Clark’s reaction to Cameron’s comments. While he would have been well advised to say something else instead, Cameron’s remarks were so general in nature that it was impossible to tell what “myth” or “stereotype” he is alleged to have been perpetuating. People know little about Tourette’s, but it’s difficult to see how this particular remark would mislead.

  2. richard permalink
    January 8, 2012 12:51 pm

    Although not a huge fan of his, I would urge people to remember that DC very recently had to bury his severely disabled little lad… i cannot agree with the “Cameron hates disabled people” brigade.

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