COMMENTS have emerged from a York Conservative Party candidate who said that he could “quite safely drive home after four or five pints.”

John Zimnoch, who is standing as a Conservative Party candidate for Osbaldwick and Derwent ward in next month’s election, made the comments to BBC news in 2007.

The BBC published his comments in an article, headlined ‘The Shame of drink-driving’, which said: “Drink limits should be higher, we are all pariahs. I am a big fellow and can quite safely drive home after four or five pints, it's the idiots that get really drunk that need locking up and not people like myself being harassed.”

At the time Mr Zimnoch was living in Toronto, Canada.

York Press:

Mr Zimnoch said that he ‘vaguely remembers’ making the comments, however he added that he does not condone drink-driving.

He said: “Anybody who would advocate driving over the limit is an absolute idiot, and I am not an idiot.”

Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group, Stuart Rawlings, said: "Drink driving is deeply reckless and irresponsible. For many years, Conservatives have worked with all parties to increase awareness of both its dangers and its impact.

“It is therefore disappointing to find out that one of our candidates appears to have made inappropriate comments on the subject, be it over 10 years ago.

“We had no knowledge of these comments during the selection process and do not condone them. Given the length of time John can't recall making them and is fully committed to all our efforts to improve safety on York's roads.

“At a time when we are coming together to promote road safety, we believe it is unacceptable to make any remarks that make light of the subject or undermine the efforts of those campaigning."

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