Page last updated at 20:59 GMT, Tuesday, 3 March 2009

MP is criticised over Essex jibes

An MP has been criticised for suggesting "throwing the white high heels" could be an Olympic sport to encourage Essex people to get involved.

In the House of Commons David Taylor, North West Leicestershire MP, asked Olympics minister Tessa Jowell if new events would be brought in.

He suggested "putting the medallion and throwing the white high heels" could be included to encourage Essex people.

But Essex County Council leader Lord Hanningfield called the views pathetic.

Mr Taylor asked Ms Jowell if additional events would be included in the 2012 games to encourage greater participation from Essex competitors.

'Tired stereotypes'

"Will the minister care to deny the scurrilous rumours that, to encourage the people of Essex to be more involved, it is intended that the sports of putting the medallion and throwing the white high heels should be included?" said Mr Taylor.

But Miss Jowell was quick to knock down the suggestion.

"I completely, utterly and comprehensively do not recognise an Olympic event there," she said.

Mr Taylor's comments were tonight branded as "pathetic" and "juvenile" by Lord Hanningfield.

"Anyone who knows or has lived in Essex knows what a great place it is with beautiful countryside, a stunning coastline and great people.

"We have moved on from the tired stereotypes of 20 years ago and I suggest Mr Taylor does the same."

Mr Taylor's comments followed a question put by Simon Burns, Conservative MP for West Chelmsford, asking what "legacy" the Olympics were likely to leave for sporting participation in Essex.

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