Former health minister Edwina Currie has been criticised over a tweet in which she described the Italian Paralympians as "gorgeous even in wheelchairs".
Within minutes her observation had been retweeted with critics on the social networking site describing her post as "patronising" and even "disgusting".
One reply described the comment as "singularly the most offensive thing I have seen on Twitter".
Another said Ms Currie had made a "disgusting ignorant comment" while a third, said "even in wheelchairs? wow - talk about insensitive".
Mrs Currie, however, was unrepentant. "Nonsense, that's not what I meant - they just look good, natty suits, smooth geezers," she tweeted.
She was, she said, paying the entire Italian team a compliment.
"Why shouldn't we pay people who look good the compliment of saying so? That's real equality, innit?"
Responding to a comment asking: "Do you realise how patronising you sound?", the former minister said: "Get off with the patronising. Look at them: they are gorgeous, and they're in wheelchairs. I bet they'd agree."
Comedy writer Simon Blackwell , a writer behind successful shows such as Veep, The Thick Of It and Have I Got News For You, had his own way of looking at it.
"Giving Edwina Currie Twitter is like giving a drunk toddler a crossbow," he said.
Mrs Currie's gaffe came after Tory MP Aidan Burley got himself into trouble for tweeting during the opening ceremony of the Olympics that Danny Boyle's spectacular show was "leftie multi-cultural crap".
In a reference to the earlier row, Dave Jones joked: "Looks like @Edwina--Currie missed the memo from Conservative HQ about posting on Twitter tonight."