The BBC’s political editor Nick Robinson has apologised after threatening to murder a cockerel on Twitter.
The 49-year-old tweeted the tongue-in-cheek threat to his 180,000 followers last Thursday after being woken up by a noisy rooster while staying at his home in the Suffolk countryside.
He tweeted: “Awoke contemplating murder – the Suffolk countryside isn’t big enough for me and the b****y cockerel who sat outside my window at 5am”.
Local newspapers reported Mr Robinson’s tweets, which led to some debate over whether or not he is just another Monday-Friday city-dweller failing to understand the true nature of rural life.
Nick Egerton, the farmer who owns the bird, was less than impressed by Mr Robinson’s tweets, which were followed by a number of jokey remarks with media colleagues about killing the bird, turning it into haggis and eating it.
Mr Egerton told a local newspaper that crowing was completely normal behaviour for a cockerel, adding: “That’s all part of country life … they’re just part of the scenery”.
However the town-countryside tension appeared to die down last night, with Mr Robinson apologising for his remarks.
He said: “I have never and would never dream of complaining about what makes the countryside such an escape – the sights and sounds are natural and not man-made.”
He added: “My tweet was a one-off cry of frustration – a sort of anti-cockerel troll if you like – from a grumpy middle-aged man who had not had enough sleep.“
He went on to say: “I would no more want to have the cock-a-doodle-doos silenced than to pave over the fields or fill in the estuary.”
Nick Robinson bought his Suffolk home two years ago to escape the hustle and bustle of life in Westminster, and has been reported as saying he loves the village as it was “just very chilled, people are incredibly friendly and laid-back”.
He usually lives in Highbury, North London with his wife Pippa and their three children.
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