Actor Steve Coogan was branded ‘patronising’ on TV last night as he claimed Conservative voters were ‘ignorant’.
The 54-year-old star told Channel 4 News that his alter-ego Alan Partridge is ‘ill informed and ignorant and therefore, he’s a Conservative and a Brexiteer’.
He also then claimed that the Tories ‘don’t invest as much money in education because they depend on a certain level of ignorance from their supporters’.
Actor Steve Coogan claimed Conservative voters were ‘ignorant’ on Channel 4 News last night
But James Johnson, a former special adviser to Theresa May, told Coogan that his attitude was making long-term Labour voters go to the Conservatives.
The row began when Coogan, a vocal Remainer and Labour supporter, was asked by host Cathy Newman what Alan Partridge would think of the election.
He replied: ‘Alan Partridge is ill informed and ignorant and therefore, he’s a Conservative and a Brexiteer, so there you go.
‘The reason the Tories don’t invest as much money in education is because they depend on a certain level of ignorance from their supporters.’
James Johnson (left), a former special adviser to Theresa May, criticised Coogan’s attitude towards politics on the programme last night, which was hosted by Cathy Newman (right)
But Mr Johnson said: ‘I don’t want to cause a fight with Steve Coogan, but I would say this is exactly the attitude that means these long term Labour voters, who are good people, are leaving the Labour party and going to the Conservatives because people like Steve and people in the Twitter bubble and in the London bubble are calling them stupid.’
Coogan was then asked by Ms Newman whether he was being patronising, and said: ‘I could say nothing, but the fact is if you make a difference or you can say anything that will help influence the election, you’re honour bound to do that.’
Coogan also joked to Mr Johnson: ‘It’s OK, Alan Partridge is on your side.’
Earlier in the day, the Stan & Ollie film star said Alan Partridge would have voted for Brexit – and compared the Prime Minister to his larger-than-life character.
Actor Steve Coogan campaigning in Lewes with Lib Dem candidate Oli Henman on Sunday
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s PM programme, he said: ‘Yes, he would (have voted Leave) because Alan is like one of those people who is very confident.
‘There are lots of people in government actually who are very like Alan Partridge in that they are super confident and not that well informed.’
He added: ‘Alan Partridge, his points of view and attitude is influenced by the likes of Boris Johnson.
‘As Max Hastings said, Boris Johnson thinks he is Winston Churchill but he is more like Alan Partridge.’
Over the weekend, Coogan said people needed to ‘vote smart and box clever’ to keep the Conservatives out of power.
Coogan took to the streets in his local constituency of Lewes in East Sussex on Sunday
He star took to the streets in his local constituency of Lewes in East Sussex with Lib Dem candidate Oliver Henman on Sunday to try to unseat the Tory party.
Conservative Maria Caulfield won with a majority of 5,508 in 2017 and people narrowly voted to remain during the 2016 referendum.
Speaking to campaigners, Coogan said that although he was a ‘traditional Labour supporter’ he would be voting Lib Dem because it was the ‘smartest thing to do’.
But Coogan said he will be visiting other constituencies where he would urge people to vote Labour in order to keep the Tories out if they were the main opponent.
Speaking to campaigners in Lewes on Sunday, Coogan said that although he was a ‘traditional Labour supporter’ he would be voting Lib Dem because it was the ‘smartest thing to do’
He added: ‘It’s such a crucial issue facing the nation. The most important thing across the country is to defeat the Tories by any means necessary. It’s about being smart and boxing clever.’
The comedian, who sported a ‘tactical voting vital’ sticker on his jacket, joked he had grown a beard to be more like a liberal but said it was just for the campaign.
Coogan then went round the streets canvassing with Mr Henman, speaking to shoppers, knocking on doors and occasionally stopping for selfies with fans.
Last week, Coogan was among 40 figures who signed a letter in the Guardian accusing Mr Johnson of offering ‘dog-whistle politics’.
This Time with Alan Partridge, on February to April, starred Coogan and Susannah Fielding
The letter also praised Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘transformative plan that prioritises the needs of people and the planet over private profit’.
The signatories included author Noam Chomsky, film director Ken Loach, the band Massive Attack, poet Michael Rosen, and rapper Kane ‘Kano’ Robinson.
They added: ‘In the UK, Labour’s election manifesto under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership offers a transformative plan that prioritises the needs of people and the planet over private profit and the vested interests of a few.
‘Boris Johnson’s Conservatives have nothing to offer but the prospect of an ever more unequal and divided society, and dog-whistle politics.’