Disgraced peer Conrad Black turns the air blue in rant at Jeremy Paxman during 'Have I Got News For You?'


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The Independent Online

Disgraced peer Conrad Black took another swipe at Newsnight anchor Jeremy Paxman, branding him an “an a**hole”.

The abrasive former media mogul appeared on satirical panel show Have I Got News For You?, where he continued his assault on Paxman.

On Monday Black branded him a 'priggish, gullible, British fool' and said he was proud he had endured their tense exchange without "getting up and smashing your face in".

And last night he remained unrepentant, adding: "I like Jeremy, he's just an a**hole.

He was challenged by fellow guest, poker player Victoria Coren, and show regular Ian Hislop - who described the statement as "unbelievable".

But Black went on: "He's a perfectly nice man, I've met him socially many times, he's fine but he has a technique and he is compulsively belligerent and the only way to deal with it, unless he has reason to be so self-righteous, is to be belligerent back to him."

He then dismissed the comment as "an attempt at humour".

Black, former proprietor of the Daily Telegraph, is in the UK to promote his new book A Matter Of Principle and has made a series of defiant television appearances.

He was imprisoned for three years for defrauding investors but, despite being released from a US prison earlier this year, he insisted he had nothing to be ashamed of - even indicating his potential plans to retake his seat in the House of Lords.

Earlier in the week, he branded Sky News' political editor Adam Boulton a "jackass" before telling him: "You don't know what you are talking about."

Filming for the show was peppered with jokes about Black's convictions.

Host Alexander Armstrong made reference to the film Citizen Kane, saying pointedly it was about a newspaper magnate's "humiliating demise on account of his own greed".

Later Black suggested Hislop was lying about how Black had behaved as a newspaper owner, before the Private Eye editor retorted: "The Black calling the kettle a crook."

At one point Black made reference to Hislop's famous quote, "If that's justice then I'm a banana", before calling Hislop a banana.

He replied: "I'm not a banana. All I'm saying is that you were found guilty on two counts. You went to jail, you've come back, you would like to be rehabilitated.

"You've come here to say you're innocent, which is sweet but not true."

Black, who was imprisoned for three years for defrauding investors, claims he was wrongly convicted by the US justice system.

Have I Got News For You will be shown on BBC1 at 9pm today.