Advice sought on Jeremy Clarkson comments


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The Independent Online

A leading union is taking urgent legal advice over "appalling" comments made by BBC presenter Jeremy Clarkson about the huge strike by public sector workers, it was announced today.

Unison called on the corporation to sack the Top Gear presenter, who said on BBC's The One Show last night that the strikers should be "shot".

He added: "I would take them outside and execute them in front of their families."

Unison, which represents more than a million public sector workers, said it was considering whether the comments should be referred to the police.

Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, said: "Clarkson's comments on the One Show were totally outrageous, and they cannot be tolerated. We are seeking urgent legal advice about what further action we can take against him and the BBC, and whether or not his comments should be referred to the police.

"Public sector workers and their families are utterly shocked by Jeremy Clarkson's revolting comments. We know that many other licence fee-payers share our concerns about his outrageous views.

"The One Show is broadcast at a time when children are watching - they could have been scared and upset by his aggressive statements. An apology is not enough - we are calling on the BBC to sack Jeremy Clarkson immediately. Such disgusting statements have no place on our TV screens.

"Jeremy Clarkson clearly needs a reminder of just who he is talking about when he calls for public sector workers to be shot in front of their families. Whilst he is driving round in fast cars for a living, public sector workers are busy holding our society together - they save others' lives on a daily basis, they care for the sick, the vulnerable, the elderly.

"They wipe bottoms, noses, they help children to learn, and empty bins. They deserve all our thanks - certainly not the unbelievable level of abuse he threw at them."

The BBC issued an apology over the comments, which sparked hundreds of angry comments on Twitter.

A spokesman said: "The One Show apologised at the end of the show to viewers who may have been offended by Jeremy Clarkson's comments."

Clarkson also said: "I mean, how dare they go on strike when they've got these gilt-edged pensions that are going to be guaranteed while the rest of us have to work for a living?

David Cameron, who is a personal friend of Clarkson, today dismissed his comments as "silly".

The Prime Minister said he was sure the Top Gear presenter had not meant to make the comments, which have sparked widespread outrage.

Speaking on ITV's This Morning programme, Mr Cameron said: "It was obviously a silly thing to say and I am sure he didn't mean that.

"I didn't see the remark but I'm sure... it's a silly thing to say."

Labour leader Ed Miliband said he had not heard the comments but added that they were "absolutely disgraceful and disgusting".

He said: "Jeremy Clarkson should apologise for those comments. He obviously does not understand the lives of the people who were going out on strike yesterday."

he BBC said it had received around 4,700 complaints about Clarkson's comments.