A councillor referred to a constituent as “the village idiot” and told him to “pay your taxes to die of cancer if that’s what you want” during an online row.

Councillor Donna Edmunds, the lead member for communications at Lewes District Council made the remarks on social networking site Twitter.

The comments arose from a debate between the Conservative councillor and a Lewes resident using the online name Jim Cornelius, after Coun Edmunds expressed her view the NHS should be privatised.

A debate between the two culminated with Coun Edmunds saying: “You’re an idiot. Pay your taxes to die of cancer if you want.”

She later amended her comments to “pay your taxes for a crappy service if that’s what you want to do” but went on to tell Mr Cornelius “you’ve just confirmed your status as the village idiot”.

Coun Edmunds said: “I don’t regret calling him an idiot. It has to be seen in the context of a conversation that was going on for three or four hours and I had persistently told him I didn’t want to talk anymore.

“In terms of the other comment I do regret the wording and I did retract it afterwards.”

For the full story see today's Argus.