Lord Digby Jones has reiterated his criticism over Alex Scott’s punditry for the BBC at the Olympics, saying his opposition to her work “has got nothing to do with her upbringing”.
The former Labour minister was accused of “misplaced snobbery” after an outburst on Twitter in which he criticised Scott for a “very noticeable inability to pronounce her ‘g’s at the end of a word.”
Scott, who played 140 times for England women’s football team, hit back by saying that she comes from a working class family in London and is “proud of my accent”.
Speaking to LBC, Lord Digby criticised the sportswoman’s defence, saying “this isn’t about regional accents”.
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
— Lord Digby Jones (@Digbylj) July 30, 2021
“I think her presentation is very, very good,” the former member of the House of Lords said.
“I object strongly to her playing the class card as well.
“This has got nothing to do with her upbringing.
“She met huge adversity, she met enormous challenges – she’s come through it, she’s captained the England women’s football team.
“She’s making a career in the media extremely successfully.
“It’s got nothing to do with any of that, this is about not accent. This isn’t about regional accents. This isn’t about being a Cockney.
“I’m a Brummie, you know, I’m delighted that they put more regional accents onto national media.
‘This isn’t about regional accents,’ says Lord Digby Jones
“It’s 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 – I don’t want her to [be] influencing, especially women, but certainly all young people to think that it’s very fashionable to go around dropping your Gs.
“I’m not getting at her, specifically, any more than [Sky News political editor] Beth Rigby, or indeed [home secretary] Priti Patel.
“It is just wrong.”
The disagreement started when he tweeted: “Enough! I can’t stand it anymore!”
He added: “Competitors are NOT taking part, Alex, in the fencin, rowin, boxin, kayakin, weightliftin & swimmin.”
Scott replied: “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!”
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.
(1/3) ?? https://t.co/EObv88MVS0
— Alex Scott MBE (@AlexScott) July 30, 2021
She added: “Never allow judgments on your class, accent, or appearance hold you back.”
Lord Digby went on to say on LBC that he respected the right of people to disagree with him, but that the difference “doesn’t mean I should be cancelled, and it doesn’t mean that people have to be incredibly rude”.