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Lord Digby Jones breaks silence after Alex Scott BBC pronunciation criticism

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 01/08/2021 Lizzie Edmonds
a man wearing glasses and looking at the camera: Liverpool v Real Madrid – UEFA Champions League – Quarter Final – Second Leg – Anfield © PA Wire Liverpool v Real Madrid – UEFA Champions League – Quarter Final – Second Leg – Anfield

Lord Digby Jones has spoken out after he criticised the BBC’s Alex Scott’s pronunciation during her Olympics coverage.

The former Government minister said on Saturday the presenter needed “elocution lessons” as she didn’t pronounce her “gs” while announcing sports including fencing and kayaking.

He wrote online: “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.”

Scott, 36, hit back: “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.”

On Sunday, Lord Digby said he has faced a wealth of online abuse, telling LBC: “I do wish people could criticise in a free democracy and understand that I have a point of view that doesn’t mean I should be cancelled.”

Speaking with host Andrew Castle, Lord Digby defended his position suggesting his criticism was not about Scott’s “upbringing” but because she was speaking incorrectly.

“This has got nothing to do with her upbringing. This is not about accents.

“It is 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 - to influence [people] to think that it is very fashionable to go around dropping your ‘gs’.”

On Saturday, Lord Digby wrote a number of tweets about Scott.

He added: “She’s hot on the heels of Beth Rigby at Sky the Home Secretary for God’s sake! Can’t someone give these people elocution lessons? I fear that it may be aped by youngsters along the lines of the use of the moronic interrogative originally caused by “Neighbours”; on behalf of the English Language…..Help!”

In reply Scott said: “A quick one to any young kids who may not have a certain kind of privilege in life. Never allow judgments on your class, accent, or appearance hold you back. Use your history to write your story. Keep striving, keep shining & don’t change for anyone.

“Tweets like this just give me the energy to keep going See you tomorrow.. live on BBC baby.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan was among those who backed Scott and shared his support on social media.

He wrote: “From a proud sarf Londoner to a proud East Londoner: well said @AlexScott Our diversity is our strength.”

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