Comedian Ben Elton, who called Rishi Sunak a “mendacious narcissistic sociopath” at the weekend, has defended criticism of his comments, saying if that is “the worst he gets he should read some of my reviews”.
Following his appearance on BBC One’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg, which also included an interview with the Prime Minister, the Blackadder author faced criticism.
On his LBC breakfast show, Nick Ferrari questioned Elton about whether or not he had been personal with the prime minister. Elton responded, “It was personal from me, he’s a prime minister.
“I’ve had some slagging off in my time and if that’s the worst he gets he should read some of my reviews.
“I was giving a personal reaction as a Londoner and as a Briton who just made a documentary about our rail service, he was just talking about our health service.
“The idea that there’s no alternative than what they’re offering, I’m sorry, it was a personal reaction.
“The BBC didn’t know I was going to say it but then I didn’t know they were going to play that word salad and then ask me to comment on it.”
In an interview on Sunday, the prime minister urged people dealing with the cost of living problem to maintain their composure in the face of interest rate increases and emphasised that there was “no alternative” to fighting inflation.
After Kuenssberg stated that the waiting lists for the NHS were at “dreadful” levels, Mr. Sunak asserted that the epidemic was to blame for their growing.
Elton, who wrote the original We Will Rock You script in addition to writing for Blackadder and The Young Ones, described the remarks as a “extraordinary Orwellian, meaningless, evasive word salad” after the interview.
The 64-year-old said: “I sort of believed maybe he’s kind of a bit more decent, and it turns out, he’s as much of a mendacious, narcissistic sociopath as his previous boss.
“This man literally, he seemed to be making a principle of the fact that he resigned from a government that he’d served loyally and tried to keep propped up for numerous years.
“He’s trying to boast about having worried about inflation while he was chancellor of the exchequer under (Boris) Johnson.”
In response, Conservative MP Martin Vickers told the Independent: “Elton sounds even more out of touch with mainstream opinion than (Labour leader) Keir Starmer.”
Referring to Sir Elton John playing Glastonbury on Sunday, Tory MP Steve Brine said: “I would think most people in the country are more interested in hearing from another Elton.”
Elton also told LBC: “I really, really wanted to hear some proper commitment (from the PM), some proper principle, and some actual new ideas.
“He literally didn’t say anything expect for the fact that ‘I’m brilliant, I will sort everything out and I have zero responsibility for the previous 13 years of Tory government’. ‘I was born six months ago when I became PM’.
“I’m sorry it made me angry and I did not set out to have a go.”
In addition, he expressed his “really sad” that Kuenssberg’s political interview series “scarcely” mentioned his Channel 4 documentary Ben Elton: The Great Railway Disaster, which aired on Monday.