Furious Labour voters say it's 'sickening' that 'vile racist' Jeremy Clarkson has endorsed the party

Joanna Taylor
Tuesday 07 July 2020 07:15
news
(Hannah Peters / Getty Images )

Keir Starmer has welcomed an endorsement of the Labour party from Jeremy Clarkson, saying it's a "sign" that people have noticed the party has "changed".

Clarkson said on Times Radio that he would now consider voting for Labour because he is more impressed with Starmer than past Labour leaders like Jeremy Corbyn and Tony Blair.

I wouldn’t naturally vote Conservative. It just happens to be that most times, when we’re asked to vote...

Obviously no one in their right mind could vote for Corbyn. Blair certainly had his moments of seeming quite sensible and then went into war and that was idiotic, and banned hunting and even though I didn’t like hunting I thought that was idiotic.

So it just happens to be that every time it comes around and you weigh up which is going to provide you with a better life, the better country to live in, then it’s usually the Conservatives.

I don’t think the current lot are doing a particularly good job.

If Boris Johnson proves to be as bad as I suspect he’s going to be over the next couple of years... you would be an idiot to say, ‘I’ve always voted Conservative so I’ll carry on voting Conservative.’ 

I'm very pleased to have the votes of as many people as possible. I'm very pleased that people are beginning to notice that the Labour party has changed. That's good.

But some Labour supporters are furious that Starmer accepted Clarkson's endorsement, pointing to his string of racist remarks and glaring controversies.

Others pointed out that Clarkson's endorsement of the party is fairly meaningless with a general election so far in the future.

And although Labour under Starmer might attract new voters, it's also at risk of alienating current ones.

Nigel Farage did not exactly endorse the Labour party, but he did welcome Starmer's statement on the Black Lives Matter movement in which he dismissed the campaign to defund the police as "nonsense".

Anna Soubry, one of the few Conservative MPs to defect to Change UK ahead of the 2019 general election, similarly did not openly endorse the Labour party but tweeted an extract of a Guardian article praising Starmer, having previously called the Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn "pitiful" and "absolutely hopeless".

Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley also tweeted a dig at Starmer, making it clear where his party would stand on an endorsement from Jeremy Clarkson.

Starmer recently agreed to undergo unconscious bias training after being challenged on his statement about Black Lives Matter.

He said it was important for all Labour staff to undergo the training and that he would "lead from the top".

But his uncritical acceptance of Clarkson's support for Labour has already drawn further criticism because of Clarkson's history of racist and offensive comments.

In 2014 Clarkson was accused of muttering the N-word as part of a children's rhyme during a Top Gear out take, although he denies this. Earlier that year media watchdog Ofcom found that he had deliberately used an "offensive racial term" after he referred to a bridge in Thailand with an Asian man walking across it as having a "slope" on it.

In 2011 Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond said that Mexican cars were "lazy" and "feckless" like their drivers, after which Clarkson joked the show wouldn't receive any complaints because "at the Mexican embassy, the ambassador is going to be sitting there with a remote control like this [snores]".

In 2009 Clarkson criticised television producers for attempting to promote onscreen representation, saying they've "got it into their heads that if one presenter on a show is a blond-haired, blue-eyed heterosexual boy, the other must be a black Muslim lesbian".

A year later he said on Top Gear that "the burka doesn't work" because he saw a woman in a burka trip over and reveal a "red G-string and stockings".

Clarkson also said that public sector workers on strike should be "taken outside and executed in front of their families" on the One Show in 2011 and referred to prime minister Gordon Brown as a "one-eyed Scottish idiot" in 2009.

He was eventually let go from the BBC in 2015 following a "fracas" with a producer over the lack of available hot food at his hotel.

Of course, Conservative voters pivoting to Labour are crucial to the party if they hope to achieve election success in future.

But the support of figures like Jeremy Clarkson and Nigel Farage could also hurt Labour's image, particularly at a time when its leader is promising zero tolerance over racism.

Trending