Jeremy Clarkson has said that he is “fed up” with people “whingeing” over the quality of free school meal parcels.
Last week, the government came under fire for handing out “woefully inadequate” parcels to families eligible for free school meals.
Footballer and anti-poverty activist Marcus Rashford highlighted the issue on Twitter, sharing a photo of two families who had received food parcels that included half a pepper and a carrot “stub”.
In his column in The Sunday Times, Clarkson said that a woman requesting to be given supermarket vouchers instead of the food boxes was “presumably [doing it] so that she could exchange it at the supermarket for fags and scratchcards”.
“On the food front, I think [Rashford’s] fight is noble and well judged, and I agree that some shameless profiteering is going on,” said The Grand Tour host. “But I am fed up to the back teeth of the whingeing this story unleashed.”
The 60-year-old went on to suggest that families should be happy that they are not receiving “half an ounce of mould and a dead dog”.
He wrote: “We live in a country where children from less well-off families are entitled to free lunches when they are at home. Yippee.
“But instead of celebrating that fact, and concentrating on making sure the food they get is not half an ounce of mould and a dead dog, I heard a woman on the news the other day demanding that she be given £30 to provide lunch for her child. 30 quid? Where’s she taking him? Fortnum & Mason?”
Watch: Piers Morgan says it was TENSE being reunited with former enemy Jeremy Clarkson
The food box is being offered in some areas instead of a £30 voucher, which is supposed to cover lunches for up to 10 school days – not a single lunch serving as Clarkson appears to imply.
His comments have attracted criticism on Twitter. One user wrote: “I do love it when rich people like @JeremyClarkson sneer at the poor.”
Another said: “Although I find Jeremy Clarkson quite entertaining on TV, his Thatcherite attitude occasionally shows to remind me he’s a bit of a Tory d***head really.”
Someone else added: “Jeremy Clarkson takes a swipe at ‘moaning’ Stokie mum in free school meals row. Just like he took a swipe at someone for not being given a hot meal at the end of filming.”
Others echoed the same sentiment, writing: “Says the man who literally punched a producer in the face because he couldn’t get a steak for dinner.”
In 2016, Clarkson was dropped from Top Gear after he punched the show’s producer Oisin Tymon at a North Yorkshire hotel when he was told there was no hot food available at the end of a day’s shooting on location.
Says the man who literally punched a producer in the face because he couldn't get a steak for dinner 🤨https://t.co/7Bkt0scBBl
— Tom 💙 #NHSblueheart (@tomgiddings) January 18, 2021
The world would be a better ace without the likes of Jeremy Clarkson. https://t.co/fY1P5kguOX
— 3.5% DemoCat Social Fist🌹✊ (@BornSocialist1) January 19, 2021
— Sioux 🇪🇺 #FBPE 💙 #BlackLivesMatter (@siouxward) January 19, 2021
Jeremy Clarkson takes a swipe at 'moaning' Stokie mum in free school meals row. Just like he took a swipe at someone for not being given a hot meal at the end of filming. He is the male equivalent of that awful Hopkins woman. https://t.co/mXnzn3tKnL
— Steve Ryles (@ryles65) January 17, 2021
— Richard Swancott (@RichSwancott) January 18, 2021
An internal BBC inquiry found that Clarkson had called Tymon a “lazy, Irish c***” during the altercation.
Others pointed out Clarkson’s error in asserting that the £30 voucher would be for one meal, stating: “Jeremy Clarkson thinks that parents get £30 (value) a day for meals. Is he for real?”
Watch: Piers Morgan asks Matt Hancock why he voted against free school meals in tense GMB exchange