Union invites Jeremy Clarkson to ‘wipe bottoms’ after apology

By Alex Stevenson

Jeremy Clarkson's apology over his 'shoot the strikers' remark has only partially diminished uproar about the comment.

The Top Gear presenter said he was "quite happy" to apologise if his ambiguous joke that striking public sector workers should be executed "in front of their families" had caused offence.

Over 21,000 people have already complained about the comments on Wednesday's edition of BBC1's The One Show.

The Unison union, which had taken legal advice on whether it could take any steps against Mr Clarkson, said it was pleased he had "seen the error of his ways".

"It is only right he apologises for the huge offence he caused to public sector workers and their families," Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said.

"We would like to invite him to spend a day on a hospital ward, with one of our healthcare assistants. They do vital work caring for patients – cleaning up sick, bathing patients, and wiping bottoms. We think he has many of the personal skills necessary for the job."

The BBC released a transcript of the video which it said showed the context in which the remark was made. Mr Clarkson had said in a statement: "I didn't for a moment intend these remarks to be taken seriously – as I believe is clear if they're seen in context."

On being asked whether he knew anybody on strike, Mr Clarkson told the show's presenters: "What, in public service? Of course I don't. No, absolutely. We have to balance it though, don't we, because this is the BBC."

The presenters reply: "Exactly."

Mr Clarkson then says: "Frankly, I'd have them all shot! [studio laughs] I would take them outside and execute them in front of their families. 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 outspoken presenter told the Times newspaper that he had cleared the remark with The One Show's producers before the programme went on air.

It reported that he was cleared to offer an extreme view which was not supposed to be taken seriously.

The BBC issued an apology of its own afterwards, conceding that "the item was not perfectly judged".