Geoffrey Boycott said he “couldn't give a toss, love” about the backlash over Theresa May awarding him a knighthood despite a conviction for domestic violence.
The ex-England cricketer’s comments have provoked a furious response amid calls for him to be removed from May’s resignation honours list.
Boycott was fined £5,000 and given a three-month suspended sentence in 1998 after being convicted of beating his then-girlfriend Margaret Moore in a French Riviera hotel.
When asked about the criticism over his knighthood by a leading figure in Women’s Aid, Boycott told the Today Programme on Radio 4:
I don't give a toss about her, love.
So you can take your political nature and do whatever you want with it. I couldn't give a toss.
Boycott’s knighthood was roundly condemned on Twitter
Some pointed out that one of the reasons Boycott supports Brexit is because he blames membership of the EU for being convicted of assault in France
When asked about his conviction on the Today programme, Boycott said:
It was 25 years ago love, in a French court, she tried to blackmail me for £1m. I said no.
It's a court case in France where... you're guilty. It's one reason I don't vote to remain in Europe is you're guilty until you're proved innocent.
That's totally the opposite from England. It's very difficult to prove you're innocent.
Others said May's decision to include the ex-cricketer on her resignation honour's list did not sit well with her feminist credentials
Adina Claire, co-acting chief executive of Women’s Aid, said:
Celebrating a man who was convicted for assaulting his partner sends a dangerous message – that domestic abuse is not taken seriously as a crime.
With increasing awareness of domestic abuse, and a domestic abuse bill ready to be taken forward by government, it is extremely disappointing that a knighthood has been recommended for Geoffrey Boycott.