Clarkson apologises for ‘shooting strikers’ comment
By Alex Stevenson
Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson has apologised after his comments on the public sector strike say him criticised across Westminster.
The outspoken TV personality sparked outrage when he revealed his approach to public sector workers striking over their pensions would be to "have them all shot".
"I would take them outside and execute them in front of their families," he told BBC1's The One Show.
"I mean, how dare they go on strike when they've got these gilt-edged pensions that are going to be guaranteed while the rest of us have to work for a living."
The BBC and Mr CLarkson issued apologies this afternoon, as the row increasingly dominated the airwaves.
"The One Show is a live topical programme which often reflects the day's talking points," the BBC said.
"Usually we get it right, but on this occasion we feel the item wasn't perfectly judged. The BBC and Jeremy would like to apologise for any offence caused."
Mr Clarkson said: "If the BBC and I have caused any offence, I'm quite happy to apologise for it alongside them.
"I didn't for a moment intend these remarks to be taken seriously – as I believe is clear if they're seen in context."
Labour demanded that David Cameron, a personal friend of Mr Clarkson's, quickly disassociate himself from the remarks.
The prime minister obliged in an appearance on ITV1's This Morning programme, saying: "That was a silly thing to say and I'm sure he didn't mean that."
Ed Miliband branded the comments "absolutely disgraceful and disgusting".
He told a question-and-answer session: "Jeremy Clarkson should apologise for those comments, because he obviously doesn't understand the lives of the people who were going out on strike yesterday."
The Top Gear host finally said sorry this afternoon.
"I didn't for a moment intend these remarks to be taken seriously – as I believe is clear if they're seen in context," he said in a statement.
"If the BBC and I have caused any offence, I'm quite happy to apologise for it alongside them."
The Unison public services union, which has 1.3 million members, had said it was taking legal advice on whether it could take action against Mr Clarkson and the BBC.
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said children could have been "scared and upset" by Mr Clarkson's "aggressive statements".
"Whilst he is driving round in fast cars for a living, public sector workers are busy holding our society together – they save others' lives on a daily basis, they care for the sick, the vulnerable, the elderly," Mr Prentis said.
"They wipe bottoms, noses, they help children to learn, and empty bins – they deserve all our thanks – certainly not the unbelievable level of abuse he threw at them."
The BBC also apologised for Mr Clarkson's remarks – not the first time the Corporation has had to say sorry for the outspoken 51-year-old.
It previously apologised after he compared Mexican cuisine to vomit.