Downing Street demands apology after Jeremy Paxman calls David Cameron 'complete idiot'
The Newsnight veteran is unhappy at Cameron's take on next year's first world war centenary
Sunday 10 November 2013
Jeremy Paxman, the combative Newsnight anchor, is at the centre of yet another row after calling the Prime Minister a “complete idiot” for his First World War centenary plans.
Asked about the forthcoming events next year, Mr Paxman said the PM had likened the commemorations to last last year’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
He said he was ‘troubled’ by Mr Cameron “talking about how millions of pounds were going to be spent marking this anniversary” and the fact that he had “compared it with the celebrations for the Diamond Jubilee.”
Speaking to the BBC chat show host Graham Norton, Mr Paxman said: “Therefore people get the idea that somehow this is going to be celebrated. Well, only a complete idiot would celebrate such a calamity.
“Three quarters of a million men never came back to this country. Millions of men served. Millions of men were wounded mentally and physically. No one would celebrate that. It was just Cameron’s clumsy use of language.”
It is believed that Mr Paxman was referring to a speech the Prime Minister gave in October 2012 at the Imperial War Museum in London; a speech he used to announce that more than £50 million had been allocated for next year’s commemoration of the outbreak of the war.
But a senior Downing Street aide, Rob Wilson MP, has written to the BBC Director-General Lord Hall demanding an apology from the long-serving Newsnight presenter.
According to the MailOnline, Mr Wilson wrote: “Mr Paxman should make a full and public apology for his comments. He should make it clear to BBC viewers and licence fee payers that his remarks were inaccurate and ill-founded.
“This sneering and aggressive approach is one of the reasons many people are put off politics.”
The veteran presenter, famous for his forthright views and somewhat belligerent interview style, is used to controversies - he was criticised by the deputy PM Nick Clegg last week for being “sneering about politics”, while at the same time making a good living from Westminster.
And he was also attacked for admitting he once did not vote because the choices were so “unappetising”.
In an interview with the Radio Times he said: “At the next election we shall have a choice between the people who've given us five years of austerity, the people who left us this mess, and the people who signed public pledges that they wouldn't raise student fees, and then did so – the most blatant lie in recent political history.”
Mr Paxman had recently given the comedian Russell Brand a hard time during a Newsnight interview because the comic “can't be arsed to vote”.
A BBC spokesperson said: “We have not yet received Mr Wilson's letter but when we do we will respond in due course.”
- 3 The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
- 4 Phil Neville backtracks on Tomas Rosicky 'I'd smash him' comments from Match of the Day 2
- 5 British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Paris attacks: Do not call Charlie Hebdo killers 'terrorists', BBC says
UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
Asteroid narrowly scrapes past Earth: how to watch the closest space rock for decades as it flies by
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Prince Philip set to be knighted by Australia: Celebrate by reading his greatest gaffes
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: On behalf of a successful academy i...
£45000 - £50000 per annum: Investigo: My client, a global leader in providing ...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: WEST LONDON - An excellent new opportunity wit...
£8 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A Florist Shop Manager is required to m...