Ipswich Labour MP Chris Mole has written a "strongly-worded" letter to the BBC's director general Mark Thompson demanding that Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson be sacked for suggesting that lorry drivers routinely kill strumpets.
Clarkson, 48, was "taking part in a lorry-driving task" during last Sunday's pre-watershed show when he quipped: "Change gear, change gear, check mirror, murder a prostitute, change gear, change gear, murder. That's a lot of effort in a day."
In February, 50-year-old lorry driver Steve Wright was jailed for life for the murder of five prostitutes in Suffolk. Mole said in his letter: "The murders in my constituency in 2006 were horrific and the community has spent a lot of time pulling together to respond constructively to such dreadful events. For Mr Clarkson to make light of murder in any circumstance must be a dismissible offence."
"To do so with complete disregard for the families of the murdered women should make this a matter on which I would expect you to take immediate action."
The gag has already attracted 500 complaints* to the BBC, and Ofcom said earlier this week the material was "currently being assessed against the Broadcasting Code".
The BBC issued a statement in defence of Clarkson. It read: "The vast majority of Top Gear viewers have clear expectations of Jeremy Clarkson's long-established and frequently provocative on-screen persona. This particular reference was used to comically exaggerate and make ridiculous an unfair urban myth about the world of lorry driving, and was not intended to cause offence." ®
*Updated figure, from today's BBC report into Strumpetgate.
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