John Cleese sparks row by saying London is ‘not really an English city any more’

John Cleese has sparked an online row by suggesting that London is ‘not really an English city’.

The star of Fawlty Towers and Monty Python – who revealed last year he was moving to Nevis in the Caribbean – wrote to his 5.6 million Twitter followers that ‘London was not really an English city anymore.’ 

His comments echo those he made in 2011, when the veteran actor told Australian television that London ‘doesn’t feel English.’

Cleese – who is no stranger to controversy on social media – has caused a heated debate online with this latest comment, with some people mocking the 79-year-old, while others supported his views.

John Cleese, the star of Fawlty Towers and Monty Python, ventured his opinions on Twitter, and not for the first time, provoked a heated reaction

John Cleese, the star of Fawlty Towers and Monty Python, ventured his opinions on Twitter, and not for the first time, provoked a heated reaction

John Cleese, the star of Fawlty Towers and Monty Python, ventured his opinions on Twitter, and not for the first time, provoked a heated reaction

Mr Cleese tweeted the above comment to his 5.6 million followers on Twitter

Mr Cleese tweeted the above comment to his 5.6 million followers on Twitter

Mr Cleese tweeted the above comment to his 5.6 million followers on Twitter

A number of other Twitter users latched onto the comments from Mr Cleese and disagreed with him, including Sadiq Khan who said Cleese sounded like Basil Fawlty

A number of other Twitter users latched onto the comments from Mr Cleese and disagreed with him, including Sadiq Khan who said Cleese sounded like Basil Fawlty

A number of other Twitter users latched onto the comments from Mr Cleese and disagreed with him, including Sadiq Khan who said Cleese sounded like Basil Fawlty

Not everyone disagreed with the Monty Python star. The official Leave.EU account praised Cleese, writing: 'Bravo to British comedy legend and Brexiteer @JohnCleese for speaking up about the state of London The liberal luvvies on Twitter are in meltdown over his refusal to apologise for telling the truth!'

Not everyone disagreed with the Monty Python star. The official Leave.EU account praised Cleese, writing: 'Bravo to British comedy legend and Brexiteer @JohnCleese for speaking up about the state of London The liberal luvvies on Twitter are in meltdown over his refusal to apologise for telling the truth!'

Not everyone disagreed with the Monty Python star. The official Leave.EU account praised Cleese, writing: ‘Bravo to British comedy legend and Brexiteer @JohnCleese for speaking up about the state of London The liberal luvvies on Twitter are in meltdown over his refusal to apologise for telling the truth!’

His tweet said: ‘Some years ago I opined that London was not really an English city any more.

The Twitter controversies of Monty Python’s John Cleese 

Today wasn’t the first time John Cleese sparked a storm by tweeting something controversial. 

  • In 2016, he said: ‘Why do we let half-educated tenement Scots run our English press ? Because their craving for social status makes them obedient retainers?’
  • In November 2018, as the California wildfires raged, he wrote: ‘Invited tonight to a Sacramento restaurant called Lucca, by the owner Erin. ‘She said that last night several people came in to eat who were from Paradise, the place that just burned to the ground. She told me that they wanted everything they ordered flambeed. Magnificent…’
  • In June 2018, he listed the best audiences then followed it up by saying: ‘Worst: Lazy, fat, beer-sodden, pseudo-French Belgian b******s in Hasselt.

‘Since then, virtually all my friends from abroad have confirmed my observation

‘So there must be some truth in it…

After the tweet, veteran actor Cleese, started trending on Twitter

After the tweet, veteran actor Cleese, started trending on Twitter

After the tweet, veteran actor Cleese, started trending on Twitter

‘I note also that London was the UK city that voted most strongly to remain in the EU.’ 

Sherlock star Amanda Abbington tweeted: ‘What’s happened to John Cleese…?’

TV presenter Rick Edwards wrote: ‘Just when you think you can’t love John Cleese any more!! It turns out you can’t.

But not everyone disagreed with the veteran entertainer.

The official Leave.EU account praised Cleese, writing: ‘Bravo to British comedy legend and Brexiteer @JohnCleese for speaking up about the state of London The liberal luvvies on Twitter are in meltdown over his refusal to apologise for telling the truth!’.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has responded to John Cleese after the actor made comments about London

In a statement Mr Khan referred to Cleese’s comedy series Fawlty Towers, saying: ‘These comments make John Cleese sound like he’s in character as Basil Fawlty.

‘Londoners know that our diversity is our greatest strength. We are proudly the English capital, a European city and a global hub.’ 

Since the tweet Mr Cleese has responded to critics online who have questioned his claims about London. 

He posted in response to one user on Twitter: ‘I suspect I should apologise for my affection for the Englishness of my upbringing, but in some ways I found it calmer, more polite, more humorous, less tabloid, and less money-oriented than the one that is replacing it.’

According to the 2011 Census, 44.9 per cent of London is White British, the lowest figure in the country. 

North East England has the highest percentage of White British people in England, with 93.6 per cent. 

The highest percentage in the UK is Northern Ireland, which has 96 per cent. 

It is not the first time Mr Cleese has courted controversy online. 

In November 2018, the British actor took to Twitter to share a joke he’d heard while dining out at a restaurant in Sacremento, California.

It is not the first time Cleese has courted controversy. In June 2018 the actor listed the best audiences then followed it up by saying: 'Worst: Lazy, fat, beer-sodden, pseudo-French Belgian b******s in Hasselt. 'Like reading Moby Dick to nomads'

It is not the first time Cleese has courted controversy. In June 2018 the actor listed the best audiences then followed it up by saying: 'Worst: Lazy, fat, beer-sodden, pseudo-French Belgian b******s in Hasselt. 'Like reading Moby Dick to nomads'

It is not the first time Cleese has courted controversy. In June 2018 the actor listed the best audiences then followed it up by saying: ‘Worst: Lazy, fat, beer-sodden, pseudo-French Belgian b******s in Hasselt. ‘Like reading Moby Dick to nomads’

He wrote: ‘Invited tonight to a Sacramento restaurant called Lucca, by the owner Erin.

‘She said that last night several people came in to eat who were from Paradise, the place that just burned to the ground.

The ethnic make-up of London 

White British: 44.9%

Other White: 14.9%

African: 7.1%

Indian: 6.6%

Mixed: 5.0 %

Other Asian: 4.9%

Caribbean: 4.2% 

Other Ethnic Group: 3.4% 

Pakistani: 2.7%

Bangladeshi: 2.7%

Other Black: 2.1%

Chinese: 1.5%

Figures are from the 2011 Census 

‘She told me that they wanted everything they ordered flambeed. Magnificent…’

At the time he posted the joke California was besieged by wild fires, with the death toll currently at 50, with hundreds of animals also thought to have perished and thousands left homeless. 

In another remark on Twitter made by the actor in June 2018, he listed the best audiences then followed it up by saying: ‘Worst: Lazy, fat, beer-sodden, pseudo-French Belgian b******s in Hasselt.

‘Like reading Moby Dick to nomads.’

But after an online backlash he added: ‘An apology to the citizens of Hasselt. It was quite wrong of me to describe them as pseudo-French. They are, of course, pseudo-Dutch.’

How did London vote in the 2016 EU referendum?

Comedian Cleese said London voted ‘strongly’ to remain in the EU. 

But how does the vote break down? 

Across all the 33 London boroughs 59.9 per cent (2.26 million) voted to Remain in the EU and while 40.1 per cent voted to stay (1.5 million). 

In some areas, such as Lambeth, proportion of the vote for Remain was higher than 70 per cent.

His latest comments echo his comments made on Australian television on 2011 that London ‘is not longer an English city.’

He said at the time:  ‘I’m not sure what’s going on in Britain. Let me say this, I don’t know what’s going on in London because London is no longer an English city and that’s how they got the Olympics.

‘They said ‘we’re the most cosmopolitan city on Earth’ but it doesn’t feel English.

‘I had a Californian friend come over two months ago, walk down the King’s Road and say to me ‘well, where are all the English people?’.

‘I love having different cultures around but when the parent culture kind of dissipates you’re left thinking ‘well, what’s going on?”

A representative for Cleese has been contacted for comment. 

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