BBC presenter Alex Scott says she is proud of her London accent after ex-House of Lords member Digby Jones criticised her pronunciation.
Lord Jones tweeted on Friday she “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”.
Scott said she was “proud” to be from a working class family in east London.
The tweets were trending throughout Saturday.
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
— Lord Digby Jones (@Digbylj) July 30, 2021
Lord Jones, Baron Jones of Birmingham, added she was “hot on the heels of Beth Rigby at Sky” and Home Secretary Priti Patel and said they should be given elocution lessons.
Responding, former Arsenal and England footballer Scott said: “Any young kids who may not have a certain kind of privilege in life” should not allow “judgments on your class, accent, or appearance hold you 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.
(1/3) 👇🏾 https://t.co/EObv88MVS0
— Alex Scott MBE (@AlexScott) July 30, 2021
Lord Jones later responded that Scott should not play the “working class card” as she was “worthy of much better”.
He added: “I admire & often publicly praise the adversity you faced & defeated to achieve all the success you deserve.
“Not sounding a g at the end of a word is wrong; period. It’s not a question of class, it’s not a question of accent, it’s a question of poor elocution. Don’t let it spoil your otherwise excellent performance.”
Lord Jones was educated at Bromsgrove School, a co-educational independent boarding school, while Scott is said to have attended Langdon Park School, a mixed secondary school in Poplar.
He is a former director-general of the Confederation of British Industry and was a Labour transport minister and a member of the House of Lords between 2007 and 2020.
Scott, who has recently been announced as the new host of the BBC’s Football Focus, received support from many including colleagues and politicians.
Labour MP Dawn Butler replied telling her to “keep rising” while fellow Labour MP Jess Phillips tweeted that regional accents added “to the joy of the Olympics coverage”.
Golfer Thomas Bjorn, former footballer Micah Richards and ex-rugby international Will Carling added to the many voices of support, while Arsenal Women tweeted: “Keep being you, AlexScott. Forever proud!”
BBC colleague Eilidh Barbour also defended Scott on Twitter.
She wrote: “This thread is what makes AlexScott such a wonderful role model. Keep rising girl.”