NOTORIOUS Sun columnist Katie Hopkins has struck again, sparking outrage in the town yesterday after labelling Swindon an ‘ugly place no-one cares about’.
Swindon became the former Apprentice contestant’s latest target in an opinion piece on Friday, discussing cleric Abu Hamza’s terrorism conviction in New York.
In the article, she hit out at his family for continuing to live in London at the expense of the taxpayer, suggesting they move to Swindon instead.
“Surely the most sensible thing would be to move them to an ugly place no one cares about – like Swindon,” she wrote.
“Find them a grotty semi in the rough end of town next to a roundabout and a KFC and everyone will be happy.
“They can crack on doing Swindon-type things such as, erm, watching traffic, and the taxpayer can then save a bob or two.”
Owen Reynolds, of Pinehurst, was appalled by her description of Swindon.
The father-of-one, originally from Wales, was deployed to Wroughton by the RAF in 1956. He later married and moved to Swindon.
“I made Swindon my home and to read that this woman has the audacity to write this in a national newspaper annoys me immensely,” said the 76-year-old.
“She said ‘put them in the rough end of town’ like Swindon is a scruffy and dirty town but it is not like that. Just walk around the Town Gardens. They are beautiful.”
He added: “She calls Swindon ugly but has no right to say that. I’m fuming. I’m not worried about the terrorism connection she makes with Swindon. But what she said really got under my skin.”
Council leader David Renard said: “I’m not sure it dignifies a response. She clearly has never been to Swindon. I suggest until she does that she keep quiet on the subject.
“We just treat comments like these with the contempt they deserve.”
Her jibe was also criticised by Swindon South MP Robert Buckland.
“Yet again we see an ill-informed commentator making disparaging remarks about Swindon,” he said. “It really is time that people like Katie Hopkins came and visited Swindon to understand that this is a town that is full of variety and full of culture. It is far from the boring, bland place that she imagines it to be.
“Every time we get somebody like this person saying things like this it does our town no service whatsoever.”
Justin Tomlinson, North Swindon MP, added: “Swindon is a fantastic place to live. She is simply grabbing cheap and ill-informed headlines.”