Clarkson: Isle of Sheppey is full of immigrants and caravans

Jeremy Clarkson

Kent island joins long list of places insulted by Top Gear presenter, but local MP is philosophical

LAST UPDATED AT 09:35 ON Fri 13 Jan 2012

TAKE COVER. Jeremy Clarkson has cracked another joke, and this time his targets are immigrants, London cabbies, owners of mobile homes - and the Isle of Sheppey. 
 
"Mostly, the Isle of Sheppey is a caravan site," writes Clarkson in a column in the latest issue of Top Gear magazine. 
 
"There are thousands of thousands of mobile homes, all of which I suspect belong to former London cabbies, the only people on Earth with the knowledge to get there before it's time to turn round and come home again."
 
As for the locals, he continues: "Well, they tend to be the sort of people who arrived in England in the back of a refrigerated truck or clinging to the underside of a Eurostar train."
 
As with his recent comments about India, broadcast in a Top Gear Christmas special on the BBC, the backlash has been swift. 
 
Ben Bano of the refugee group Seeking Sanctuary told the BBC: "I think somebody needs to remind Jeremy Clarkson that these sorts of comments are unhelpful and offensive.
 
"People seeking sanctuary have often had to resort to desperate means in the past and indeed quite a few have died in the attempt."
 
A spokesman for BBC Worldwide, publishers of Top Gear magazine, claimed Clarkson's comments had been taken out of context. "Regular readers of his column are well used to his irreverent, tongue-in-cheek musings,” he said. "I'd add that it's fairly safe to assume Jeremy doesn't really think that the entire population of Kent is made up of illegal immigrants." 
 
And should Clarkson ever find himself in Sheppey, it seems he can count on a warm welcome from one person. Gordon Henderson, the Conservative MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey, said: "[Clarkson] is quite right in many ways. We have got lots of caravans and that is one of its attractions.” · 

For further concise, balanced comment and analysis on the week's news, try The Week magazine. Subscribe today and get 6 issues completely free.