Boris Johnson’s DAD sparks an elitism row by accusing the British public of being ‘illiterate’ in response to a BBC viewer saying the PM is like Pinocchio because he cannot stop LYING
- Former MEP Stanley Johnson made the comment on Victoria Derbyshire show
- A viewer had likened his eldest son to Pinocchio because of his alleged untruths
- Mr Johnson senior replied: ‘That requires a degree of literacy, which I think the great British public doesn’t necessarily have’
Boris Johnson’s father was embroiled in an elitism row today after branding the British public ‘illiterate’.
Former MEP Stanley Johnson made the comment on live BBC television after being grilled about the Prime Minister’s truthfulness.
Standing in on the Victoria Derbyshire Show, host Joanna Gosling read out a message to Stanley Johnson which referred to his son as being like ‘Pinocchio’.
Mr Johnson retorted: ‘Pinocchio, that requires a degree of literacy which I think the Great British public doesn’t necessarily have.’
Asked what he meant by that, he said: ‘I’m not going to get into that,’ adding: ‘They couldn’t spell Pinocchio if try tried, I would have thought.’
Ms Gosling then asked: ‘Why would you say that?’ and Mr Johnson replied: ‘Well can you spell Pinocchio?’
Mr Johnson, who appeared on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here in 2017, added: ‘I’ll go back to what I said before, I think it is utterly absurd and wrong that you can read out on air a tweet, from one of your readers, on air, which calls the Prime Minister a liar.
‘I think it is amazing you can do that. Amazing.’
The remarks prompted uproar on social media, with businesswoman and Dragon’s Den star Deborah Meaden saying: ‘So this is where Boris Johnson learnt his contempt for the British Public…’
He was told that a viewer had likened his eldest son to Pinocchio because of his alleged lying
The PM today insisted comments in which he described single mothers as ‘irresponsible’ and working-class men as ‘feckless’ are 25 years old and have been taken out of context
Another viewer added: ‘Like father like son an arrogant elitist toff taking the mick.
‘Why is this fool on television at all?’
Mr Johnson was told that his comments were seen as ‘pejorative’, replying: ‘They couldn’t spell Pinocchio if they tried’.
Fellow panel guest Sonia Sodha said: ‘Appearing on Victoria Derbyshire this morning one of most surreal media things I’ve done.’
Mr Johnson senior of a former politician who has been a familiar face in the media since his son took over in Number 10.
Mr Johnson senior previously appeared on ITV reality show I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!
The Italian story character Pinocchio (seen here in the Disney film of the same name) has a nose that gets longer every time he lies
The PM today insisted comments in which he described single mothers as ‘irresponsible’ and working-class men as ‘feckless’ are 25 years old and have been taken out of context.
The Prime Minister has been urged to apologise for making the remarks in a magazine article published in 1995.
He was confronted over them this morning during an LBC radio phone-in as Ruth, a single mother, told him: ‘I don’t appreciate what you have said about single mothers and by implication my family. Why are you happy to criticise people like me when you refuse to discuss your family?’
Boris Johnson, sits in his London office reading the anniversary issue of The Spectator when he edited the magazine between 1999 and 2005
Mr Johnson said: ‘Obviously, Ruth I want to say first of all to you that I mean absolutely no disrespect to you or indeed to anybody.
‘These are 25-year-old quotations culled from articles written I think before I was even in politics.
‘And which actually, when you look at the article itself bears no resemblance to what is claimed.
‘Frankly what it is… this is yet another attempt by the Labour Party to distract from the fundamental issue at the heart of this election.
‘Almost invariably when you look at these articles you will find that that the actual piece is saying the opposite of what is claimed.’
Mr Johnson added that the way in which the comments had been presented was an ‘absolute distortion’ of ‘what I say and what I think’.