A Tory councillor has provoked outrage on Twitter for urging Sir David Attenborough to “take a one way trip to Switzerland”, a term perceived to encourage the 87-year-old presenter to commit euthanasia.
Ealing councillor Phil Taylor, responding to an article by the broadcaster blaming too many people and not enough land for Africa’s food shortages, tweeted: “I do wish this silly old fart would take a one-way trip to Switzerland. Practice what you preach.”
The London councillor was met with a barrage of criticism. Julian Bell, Labour leader of Ealing council replied: “You can agree or disagree with Sir David Attenborough but your comments are shocking & disgraceful! Apologise or resign!”
He later added: “Outrageous & disgraceful tweet from @philjvtaylor about Sir David Attenborough #nationaltreasure @philjvtaylor should apologise or resign!”
Photographer Jane Salisbury also replied to the Tory councillor. She tweeted: “What a horrible thing to say. Unnecessary.”
Responding to a request to clarify his comments, Mr Taylor told the Independent: "David Attenborough has for many years been a patron of the Optimum Population Trust which now calls itself Population Matters. My tweet reflected my frustration with Attenborough repeatedly using his "national treasure" status to promote a set of views that see people as being a problem. His prescriptions seem always to apply to other people.
"My view of the world is that we have to work out how to make sure that the 9 billion people who will populate the world by 2050 all have a good life.
"They all have hopes and dreams and don't need to be told what to do by Attenborough and his organisation."