Children’s author Philip Pullman has sparked fury today after hinting Prime Minister Boris Johnson should be hanged from a lamppost in a social media post.
Sir Philip, author of His Dark Materials, which is being turned into a BBC series this year, said on Twitter: ‘When I hear the name ‘Boris Johnson’, for some reason the words ‘rope’ and ‘nearest lamp-post’ come to mind as well.’
It draws chilling comparisons with the death of Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, whose corpse was hung from a lamppost and abused by citizens after he was deposed and shot dead in April 1945 shortly before the end of World War II.
Many were quick to condemn Sir Philip’s tweet and warn him he could face a ban for ‘inciting violence’, with some promising to report it to Twitter.
Others questioned if he meant for the Prime Minister or himself, while some criticised him for the ‘inappropriate tweet’ and said he had a ‘vile and bigoted’ mindset.
One Twitter user said: ‘I was today years old when beloved YA [young adult] author Philip Pullman logged on and suggested Mussolini’ing the British Prime Minister. What a time to be alive.’
Lib Dem MP Sarah Wollaston added: ‘No one should give a scrap of incitement to violence, especially those with great influence. You should delete.’
Sir Philip denied he was advocating the hanging of Boris Johnson but has since deleted the tweet, claiming he ‘temporarily lost his judgement’.
Philip Pullman led the backlash against Boris Johnson proroguing Parliament and even hinted the Prime Minister should be ‘hanged’, sparking outrage online
The author said the words ‘rope and nearest lamp-post’ came to mind when he thought of the politician, although it is unclear if he was referring to Mr Johnson or himself
It prompted a huge reaction on Twitter with some asking who Sir Philip’s was referring to
Others criticised the author for a ‘vile and bigoted mindset’ and said they would avoid his books in the future
MP Sarah Wollaston led criticism by calling for the author to delete the tweet and adding ‘no one should give a scrap of incitement to violence, especially those with great influence’
Others pleaded with Sir Philip to ‘pause’ and think about his words and get rid of the tweet to avoid getting banned
His tweet came amid a flurry of anger directed at Mr Johnson by ‘luvvie’ celebrities including Gary Lineker, Jay Rayner and Armanda Iannucci.
In a series of tweets on Friday, the author said: ‘I’ve deleted a tweet which apparently upset a lot of people. I don’t advocate hanging Boris Johnson. I think that would be a very bad idea.
‘Recent events have aroused my anger to the point where I temporarily lost my judgement. In the heat of the moment I made a tactical error.
‘Johnson’s attempt to silence Parliament is a low point in our nation’s political history. It was not my aim to distract from the genuine and legitimate outrage of many people at this, and I’m sorry it happened.
‘Freedom of speech, like freedom of assembly, is precious. So is life. Just to make it perfectly clear: I wouldn’t kill the prime minister, and I don’t want anyone else to. But I don’t apologise for the anger I feel; only for its intemperate expression.’
But his tweet upset and outraged hundreds of people.
One Twitter user wrote: ‘ Why hasn’t Philip Pullman’s twitter account been suspended or deleted? Remainiacs are in a state of high tension. What he wrote was incitement.’
Another said: ‘If this is an example of your intellect and work think I’ll give your books a miss.’
A third added: ‘Phillip Pullman. Being spectacularly stupid and offensive.’
Sir Philip was also accused of pushing a Remain agenda with his tweets.
One Twitter user said: ‘This is typical example of selfish, inadequate Remainers who want their own way & b****r everyone else! He can stuff his books in future!’
A spokesperson for Twitter said it would not comment on Sir Philip’s tweet ‘for privacy and security reasons’.
The social media platform’s policies say it does not tolerate violent threats but recognises some tweets may be ‘hyperbolic’ which is allowed so long as it is clear there is no ‘violent intent’.
Last night Love Actually star Grant called the PM a ‘over-promoted rubber bath toy’ and added he would not ‘f*** with my children’s future’.
Today the PM was branded a ‘dictator’ by author Richard Dawkins and compared to King Charles I by food critic Jay Rayner, who led the country into civil war in the 1600s after dissolving Parliament.
It comes after Mr Johnson secured The Queen’s approval to suspend Parliament for a month, from no earlier than September 9 and no later than September 12, until October 14.
Author Richard Dawkins added: ‘Whatever else ‘Take back control’ meant, it surely did not mean a coup d’état to wrest control from parliament and hand it over to a dictator.’
And Rayner added: ‘Oh look. On my watch it’s 10.28, but in Downing Street it appears to be 1629.’
BBC presenter Gary Lineker, left, branded the Government ‘remarkably undemocratic’ while author Richard Dawkins, right, called Mr Johnson a ‘dictator’
Lineker, who earned £1.75million with the BBC last year, disputed the government’s argument that proroguing was to set out new legislation
The former footballer also sarcastically said it was ‘great to have our sovereignty back’, referring to Leave campaign rhetoric during the referendum
Meanwhile Dawkins said the ‘take back control’ rhetoric did not mean ‘a coup d’etat’
Food critic Jay Rayner even compared Mr Johnson to King Charles I who dissolved Parliament in 1629, eventually leading to the English Civil War
Meanwhile Gary Lineker, who is the BBC’s top earner after taking home £1.75million last year, said this government was ‘remarkably undemocratic’ and added politicians in favour of Brexit had been ‘crooked’ in the way they ‘sold it’ to the nation.
He wrote on Twitter last night: ‘Great to get our sovereignty back,’ followed by ‘The government’s argument that they’re doing this for democracy is remarkably undemocratic’, this morning.
After being challenged by Piers Morgan that he has been calling for the result of the EU referendum to be ‘ignored’, he added: ‘Never have i said that we should ignore the result. That indeed would be undemocratic.
‘We could though look at the crooked, lying nature of how it was sold to us back then by the elite now dictating (literally) and decide as a democratic country if that’s still what we want.’
The Thick of It creator Armando Iannucci suggested protests outside Buckingham Palace because the Prime Minister had ‘dragged the Queen into it’
Historian and presenter Simon Schama backed calls for a Parliamentary sit in and challenged the PM to try to remove MPs
Even Star Trek actor George Takei criticised Mr Johnson, calling his actions ‘anti-Democratic’
The Queen also came under fire, with The Thick of It creator Armando Iannucci suggesting protests be staged outside Buckingham Palace.
He wrote on Twitter: In this exceptional time, protests should be more than about venting frustration; they need to be effective.
‘Those who’ve undermined our democracy won’t take any notice of protests outside Parliament. They will, though, if they were outside Buckingham Palace.
‘Sorry Queen, your Prime Minister dragged you into this…’
Yesterday Labour MP Kate Osamor, who notoriously used House of Commons headed notepaper to ask a judge not to jail her son for drug dealing, tweeted: ‘The Queen should look at what happened to her cousin Tino ex King of Greece when you enable a right wing coup! Monarchy abolished!’
Grant tweeted: ‘You will not f*** with my children’s future. You will not destroy the freedoms my grandfather fought two world wars to defend.
‘F*** off you over-promoted rubber bath toy. Britain is revolted by you and you [sic] little gang of masturbatory prefects.’
Labour MP Kate Osamor (left) and actor Hugh Grant (pictured in an animated conversation at Wimbledon) took to social media following the day’s tumultuous political events
Kate Osamor warned the Queen should ‘look at what happened’ in the case of the abolition of the Greek monarchy
Mr Grant was characteristically cool-tempered as he took to Twitter to query the PM’s policy
Actor Rufus Sewell praised ‘the thisness of this’ in relation to Johnson’s tweet and David Baddiel lightheartedly added: ‘I sort of wish that this was the speech he’d given to Billy Bob Thornton in Love, Actually.’
However several respondents took to Twitter to bring up Mr Grant’s dalliance with prostitute Divine Brown, in his car on an LA highway in 1995.
Piers Morgan tweeted Grant’s LAPD mugshot calling him ‘Halo Hugh, Britain’s moral standard-bearer.’
The Queen yesterday approved Boris Johnson’s request to prorogue Parliament no earlier than September 9 and no later than September 12, until October 14.
Opposition leaders had been hoping to use the period after Parliament returns from its summer recess on September 3 to work on a law to prevent a no-deal Brexit, in light of the PM’s promise to take the UK out of the European Union by the October 31 deadline whether or not an agreement had been reached.