RESIDENTS have hit back at former Tory MP Matthew Parris for his derogatory comments about the town.

Mr Parris, writing in his column for the Times, said Conservatives should turn their backs on Clacton, after the surge in support for Ukip.

He visited the town in the run-up to the Clacton by-election, triggered by Tory MP Douglas Carswell’s defection to Ukip.

Mr Parris described residents as lacking of qualifications, noted a large number of tattoo palours and commented on low house prices.

He said: “Clacton is going nowhere. It’s voters are going nowhere, it’s rather sad, and there’s nothing more to say.”

“This is Britain on crutches. This is tracksuitand- trainers Britain, tattoo-parlour Britain, all-our-yesterdays Britain.

“I am not arguing we should be careless of the needs of struggling people and places such as Clacton.

“But I am arguing – if I am honest – we should be careless of their opinions.”

Anne Crane, 63, of West Avenue, Clacton, a Salvation Army officer, said: “I’m disgusted by his comments.

“I’m intelligent and opinionated and should be able to have my opinion heard.

“It is very poor of him to talk about thepeople of Clacton like this.”

Conor Kinnerk, 64, semiretired, of Puffinsdale, Great Clacton, said: “It’s outrageous, particularly considering the age of people here.

“The older people have seen a lot more in their lives than he has.

“There is hope and aspiration here.”

However, Michael Watson, 63, of James Road, Clacton, an ice cream seller said: “As a businessman, there is not a lot of hope in Clacton. There’s not a lot of money here and there’s no work.

“But they shouldn’t be turning their backs on us, they need to invest.”

Mr Carswell, who has represented Clacton since 2005, said: “It’s incredibly sad to read what Matthew Parris wrote.

“He’s a close friend of the Tory leadership and this is clearly how the party hierarchy thinks.

“I’m proud of Clacton and I’m proud of Clacton people.”

Speaking on behalf of the local Tory party, Tendring Council leader Mick Page said: “We believe Clacton’s best days are ahead of it.

“Only by backing the work Conservatives are doing locally and nationally will we deliver a better future for our area.”