After a research showed that more than 345 youngsters suffered from type1diabetes in Norfolk, more than double the160 predicted cases for the county, Dr Ian Gibson, a former chairman of the Commons Science and Technology Committee, said in an interview that inbreeding might be the reason behind it sparking off a controversy.
He said: "I would imagine it is linked to the fact that people in Norfolk are quite inbred, with many not leaving the county. It is something that needs to be looked at as a priority, especially as many cases are linked to obesity too." "There is an inbreeding complex in villages - people inter-marry," he claimed. "That might mean more of them have got the same gene which predisposes them to it."
Dr Ketan Dhatariya, consultant diabetologist at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, condemned the MP's remarks and said it is disgraceful. He said. "It's an insult to people with type 1 diabetes and their families and it's an insult to people in Norfolk. There's no suggestion that that is the case. It's not the way that the genetics works. There is a genetic element but it may be triggered by an environmental factor. Nobody knows why it is rising."
Liberal Democrat MP for North Norfolk, Norman Lamb, said that the comments were "offensive" and "surprising."
Following outburst to his remarks Mr. Gibson in an interview to BBC Radio 4's has said, "It's obviously caused a lot of offence and for that I unreservedly apologize."