Page last updated at 12:20 GMT, Thursday, 6 November 2008

MP calls for Clarkson to lose job

Jeremy Clarkson
The BBC said Clarkson did not intend to cause offence

A Labour MP has written to the BBC insisting Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson is sacked for a recent joke he made on the BBC show about prostitutes.

Ipswich MP Chris Mole called the remark a "dismissible offence". Five women working as prostitutes were murdered in his Ipswich constituency in 2006.

Clarkson, 48, was taking part in a driving task, when he joked about lorry drivers killing sex workers.

Over 500 people complained to the BBC about the comments.

'Clear expectations'

Steve Wright, 50, was jailed for life in February after being found guilty of murdering the five women in Suffolk.

Clarkson made the joke while taking part in a lorry-driving task on Sunday's edition of Top Gear on BBC Two.

"Change gear, change gear, check mirror, murder a prostitute, change gear, change gear, murder. That's a lot of effort in a day," he said.

Chris Mole
For Mr Clarkson to make light of murder in any circumstance must be a dismissible offence
Chris Mole, MP

In response to complaints earlier in the week, the BBC said: "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."

Mr Mole said he had written a "strongly-worded" letter to the BBC's director general Mark Thompson.

"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," Mr Mole wrote.

"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."

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