Boris Johnson’s father has been accused of “snobbery and elitist thinking” after suggesting the British public “couldn’t spell Pinocchio if they tried”.
Asked about the PM being called “Pinocchio,” Mr Johnson replied: “That requires a degree of literacy, which I think the great British public doesn’t necessarily have”.
When asked why he would make that “pejorative” comment, he said: “Well they couldn’t spell Pinocchio if they tried.”
Pushed again on why he would make the comment, he responded: “Can you spell Pinocchio?”
He then criticised the program for being able to read out a live Tweet from a viewer that called his son a “liar”.
“I think it is utterly absurd and wrong that you can read out on air, a Tweet coming in from one of your readers, on air, which calls the Prime Minister a liar,” he said.
“I think it’s amazing you can do that.”
The comments sparked backlash on social media with one person writing: “Well done Stanley, get that foul elitist thinking and snobbery exposed for us all to see.”
Another said: “Watching Stanley ‘Boris template’ Johnson belittle the entire population of the UK on air. Definitely see where Boris and his sense of entitled boorishness comes from.”
Others congratulated Mr Johnson for standing up for his son.
The PM was absent from a Channel 4 leaders’ debate on climate change, having offered up cabinet minister Michael Gove in his place, who was rejected by the broadcaster.
Mr Gove and Mr Johnson’s father, who attended lat month’s Extinction Rebellion protests, were seen “trying to argue their way on to the programme” minutes before it started.
Channel 4’s news editor Ben de Pear said “sorry, we invited Stanley and he then offered to take his son’s place”.