Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Matt Mathers

Jeremy Clarkson won’t face police probe over Meghan column, Met chief says

Getty Images

It is not the job of officers to “police people’s ethics”, Met chief Sir Mark Rowley has said as he ruled out a hate crime investigation into Jeremy Clarkson’s comments about Meghan Markle.

Mr Clarkson, the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire host, said he hated Ms Markle and wanted to see “excrement” thrown at her in the street.

The comments, made by the former Top Gear presenter in a newspaper column after the final three episodes of the Harry & Meghan documentary were published on Netflix, drew fierce criticism from campaigners and members of the public, some of whom described them as racist and misogynistic.

Jeremy Clarkson’s newspaper rant attracted widespread backlash (Getty Images)

But Sir Mark, the UK’s most senior officer, said police should only get involved when speech becomes threatening or “incites violence.”

Mr Clarkson’s comments did not meet this threshold, he added.

In his column for The Sun, Mr Clarkson, the former Top Gear presenter said: “At night, I’m unable to sleep as I lie there, grinding my teeth and dreaming of the day when she is made to parade naked through the streets of every town in Britain while the crowds chant, ‘Shame!’ and throw lumps of excrement at her.”

He also said he hated the Duchess of Sussex, “not like I hate Nicola Sturgeon or Rose West”, but on a “cellular level”.

Speaking to LBC Radio on Wednesday, Sir Mark said “legal lines are only crossed, generally, when things are said that are intended or likely to stir up or incite violence.”

“I don’t think this is one of those cases but of course we will keep a close eye on it,” he added.

Mr Clarkson compared Meghan to serial killer Rose West (Netflix)

Carol Vorderman, John Bishop, and Kathy Burke were among the celebrities to condemn Mr Clarkson’s comments on Twitter.

Mr Clarkson’s daughter Emily also spoke out against him, saying she stood against everything her father had written in the piece.

In a statement on Twitter following the backlash, Mr Clarkson said he had “put my foot in it” and vowed to be more careful in the future but stopped short of apologising.

The article has been removed from The Sun’s website.

On Tuesday morning, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) said Mr Clarkson’s newspaper column has become its most complained about article. Ipso received more than 17,000 complaints about the piece.

But Sir Mark Rowley says it is not the force’s job to “police people’s ethics” (PA Wire)

“We will follow our usual processes to examine the complaints we have received. This will take longer than usual because of the volume of complaints,” an Ipso spokesperson said.

Despite the backlash, ITV said it would keep Mr Clarkson on as the show’s host “at the moment”.

Kevin Lygo, the managing editor of ITV studios, said the network had no control over what Mr Clarkson said but urged him to apologise.

“We have no control over what he says,” he told members of the Broadcasting Press Guild. “We hire him as a consummate broadcaster of the most famous quiz on television, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

“So it’s not quite in our wheelhouse but I don’t know what he was thinking when he wrote that. It was awful.”

MPs from across the Commons have also called on Mr Clarkson to apologise for his use of "misogynistic language".

In a letter to The Sun’s editor, Victoria Newton, signed by over 60 MPs, former Conservative minister Caroline Nokes asked for action to be taken against Mr Clarkson.

"We are horrified at the recent article by Jeremy Clarkson in your publication. As parliamentarians of every persuasion, we condemn in the strongest terms the violent misogynistic language against the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle," the letter said.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.