Lord Digby Jones has stood by his criticism of Alex Scott’s accent but insists it had ‘nothing to do with her upbringing’.
The former Government minister sparked controversy when he tweeted his frustration that Alex wasn’t pronouncing her ‘g’s’ during the BBC’s coverage of the Tokyo Olympics, and suggested she needed elocution lessons.
On Sunday, Lord Digby refused to back down and said he had ‘no regrets’ about calling her out.
Speaking to LBC’s Andrew Castle, the 65-year-old said: ‘I do wish people could criticise in a free democracy and understand that I have a point of view that doesn’t mean I should be cancelled.
‘This has got nothing to do with her upbringing. This is not about accents.
‘It is about the fact that she is wrong. You do not pronounce the English language ending in a ‘g’ without the ‘g’ and I don’t want her as a role model – and she is one, and a good one – to influence [people] to think that it is very fashionable to go around dropping your “gs”.’
Claiming to have had ‘50% support’ and ‘50% criticism’, Lord Digby admitted that he ‘never in [his] wildest dreams’ expected to receive such backlash for the tweets.
Alex Scott is proud of her East London accent and upbringing (Picture: BBC)
He stated: ‘I don’t regret it for one second because I have a point – and I think I’m right. But I didn’t for a minute think it would cause this sort of storm, I really didn’t.’
The former House of Lords member had originally tweeted: ‘Enough! I can’t stand it anymore! Alex Scott spoils a good presentational job on the BBC Olympics Team with her very noticeable inability to pronounce her ‘g’s at the end of a word.Competitors are NOT taking part, Alex, in the fencin, rowin, boxin, kayakin, weightliftin & swimmin.
‘She’s hot on the heels of Beth Rigby at Sky the Home Secretary for God’s sake! Can’t someone give these people elocution lessons? I fear that it may be aped by youngsters along the lines of the use of the moronic interrogative originally caused by “Neighbours”; on behalf of the English Language…..Help!’
Former Arsenal star Alex, who was born in Poplar to a Jamaican father and an Irish mother, later delivered a slick comeback and tweeted: ‘I’m from a working class family in East London, Poplar, Tower Hamlets & I am PROUD. Proud of the young girl who overcame obstacles, and proud of my accent! It’s me, it’s my journey, my grit.
‘A quick one to any young kids who may not have a certain kind of privilege in life. Never allow judgments on your class, accent, or appearance hold you back. Use your history to write your story. Keep striving, keep shining & don’t change for anyone.
‘Tweets like this just give me the energy to keep going. See you tomorrow.. live on BBC baby.’
The sports pundit then threw shade at Lord Digby’s gripe when she returned to the BBC on Saturday night, and smiled while recapping: ‘So far we’ve been runnin’, ridin’, shootin’, scorin’, swimmin’ and puttin’ but we’ve still got a lot of gold to still uncover.’
Lord Digby will have to get used to Alex’s East London accent as she’s set to replace Dan Walker as host of Football Focus this August, becoming the first permanent female host of the show.
Credit: Original article published here.