Caustic columnist Rod Liddle has sparked controversy after describing Brighton and Hove as a “ghastly south coast seaside pit”.
The writer used his editorial in The Sunday Times to say he would prefer to live in the North Korean capital Pyongyang, rather than the Sussex city.
Headlined “Get Brighton to A&E – it’s overdosing on liberal claptrap”, the column followed news reports a panel of drug experts in the city had suggested that “safe rooms” be opened for addicts to inject heroin legally.
It is one of 26 recommendations from the Independent Drugs Commission for Brighton and Hove, which published its report into drug taking last week.
The proposals are championed by Caroline Lucas, the Brighton Green MP and panel chairman, and crime author Peter James.
Mr Liddle dubbed Brighton “Righton”, adding that it “has one of the country’s highest proportion of drug users, with almost one in four admitting having used illegal substances and a large tranche using the hardest drugs they can find”.
He wrote: “This is Righton’s latest contribution to the national debate; collude with hard drug addicts and make it easier for them to kill themselves” and ended with: “I would marginally prefer to live in Pyongyang”.
Ms Lucas, the MP for Brighton Pavilion, said the journalist, who is also the associate editor of the maga- zine The Spectator, has “completely misrepresented Brighton and Hove” as well as the feasibility study for a drug consumption facility.
She said: “If he bothered to check his facts, he’d know that drug deaths in the city are steadily declining and that there is considerable evidence that drug consumption rooms can help save more lives, as well as reduce the impact that heroin taking has on the wider community – although presumably that’s of little interest to Mr Liddle and he’d rather everyone carried on paying the price for the failure of the so-called war on drugs than open his mind to the possibility that his prejudices do an enormous disservice to those fighting hard to reduce drug related deaths.”
Best-selling crime author Peter James, who lives near Lewes, described Mr Liddle’s comments in The Sunday Times as “arrant nonsense”.
He said: “It’s one of the most sought-after places to live in the UK and anyone who has been to Brighton would know that it’s one of the nicest places in the country.”
Yesterday, Mr Liddle stood by his article and told The Argus: “I’ve been to Brighton plenty of times, although never through choice.
“I would prefer to live in Pyongyang because I like the uniforms they have, and also the pickled cabbage.
“The studies I have seen do not confirm that ‘safe rooms’ work, despite what Caroline says.”
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