Labour’s transport chief Michael Dugher started it by saying Clarkson was ‘basically an idiot’.
The presenter hit back on Twitter to say he was glad the MP didn’t like the programme, and added: ‘We don’t make it for people who wear pink ties.’
Dugher, who had said Clarkson gave off the impression that all motorists were ‘petrolheads’, insisted the BBC2 show was just ‘old blokes wearing jeans and sports jackets’ are ‘not remotely representative’ of millions of people who drive.
He added: ‘Jeremy Clarkson – I have no time for him. It’s not just his politics. I mean, the guy is basically an idiot. And the idea that he is somehow the motorists’ representative? No he’s not, he represents himself. He’s not remotely representative of motorists.
‘There’s a caricature of people like “petrolheads”. They’re not “motorists”. They’re people who have a car. That’s a lot of people – it’s how most of us move around most of the time.’
But how he knows the programme so intimately is a mystery – he also admitted: ‘I don’t watch the programme, it’s not my kind of telly.’
Top Gear is one of the BBC’s biggest global hits, attracting millions of viewers and generating millions of pounds.
Andy Wilman, Top Gear’s executive producer, said: ‘He must be Mystic Meg if he knows what we do without watching the show. If he bothered to watch it, he would know that we take as much pleasure out of celebrating a £1500 estate car battling its way across Africa as we do from a Bugatti Veyron running at top speed. I’ll take his point on the jeans, though.’
Top Gear received a mixed reaction from Car Dealer followers on our forum – some think it’s juvenile, and others still enjoy it. Read the comments here.