Liddle wrote that “being disabled is incredibly fashionable” and claimed that more and more people are saying that they are disabled in order to claim out-of-work benefits and “get one of those badges which lets you park wherever you want”.

He also said that ME was “nothing too serious”, writing: “My New Year’s resolution for 2012 was to become disabled. Nothing too serious, maybe just a bit of a bad back or one of those newly invented illnesses which make you a bit peaky for decades – fibromyalgia, or M.E.”

One person tweeted: “I think Rod Liddle could claim benefits. He’s clearly in need of help, judging by this article.”

Another said: “I’m amazed that Rod Liddle is still being published. I thought he slunk off in shame when he realised the role of Jeremy Clarkson was taken.”

Google “rod liddle pretend disabled” and you will immediately see a raft of comments that include “Is Rod Liddle’s column in today’s Sun the most disgusting attack on disabled people yet?”, while political blogging site said: “Rod Liddle is a nasty piece of work, peddling his equal-opportunities bigotry (he’ll be offensive to everyone – provided they’re different to him) to all-comers. This latest column is indeed horrible, but it’s anything but surprising.”

The ME Association is non-too-impressed either, posting his article with the title: “That nice Mr Liddle in today’s ‘Sun’ viewspaper.”

Comments posted underneath the article called for the Press Complaints Commission to look into his “discriminatory” and “defamatory” remarks.