MP apologises for diabetes 'avoidable' comments

Derek Thomas Image copyright Photoshot
Image caption Derek Thomas has been the St Ives MP since May

An MP has apologised for his "very offensive" and "damaging" comments on diabetes.

Conservative MP for St Ives, Derek Thomas, claimed diabetes is "completely avoidable through good diet and exercise" on his Facebook page.

Dozens of constituents in Cornwall complained that his comments were inaccurate and "insulting".

He said he was "sincerely sorry" and would raise the issue with government to prevent confusion in future.

Mr Thomas' post provoked more than one hundred comments, many of which pointed out that type 1 diabetes "is genetic", and type 2 diabetes, which is often linked to obesity, is "not preventable for all".

Orson Cornick commented: "Being an ignorant human being is avoidable, not type 1 diabetes!"

Marianna Baxter whose daughter has type 1 diabetes said she was "very angry and hurt" at the "very offensive" remarks.

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Mr Thomas's original post was made on Wednesday

Mr Thomas told the BBC he was told the information by "two medical professionals" and had simply been trying to raise awareness that many people can help themselves by improving their diet.

He said: "I certainly got it wrong and I apologise for that. I certainly wasn't going out to intentionally upset a number of people that can do nothing about their ill health, so I do apologise for the way that was worded."

He said he would raise the issue with the government ahead of its national diabetes strategy launch next year to make sure no discrimination took place.

Mr Thomas removed the post on Saturday and replaced it with another offering a "sincere apology".

Many commended him like Charlotte Clews who commented: "I stand up and applaud you. So does my type one son. It really is very heart warming to see that you have corrected a mistake and educated yourself and now others."

The charity Diabetes UK declined to comment but said information on any link with diet and lifestyle was available on its website.

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption People criticised Mr Thomas on Facebook

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