Jeremy Clarkson's Meghan column receives record number of complaints

Dozens of MPs have written to the Sun's editor complaining about the former Top Gear presenter's column on Meghan Markle, ITV News' Harry Horton reports

Jeremy Clarkson's Sun newspaper column, in which he said he “hated” the Duchess of Sussex, has become the Independent Press Standards Organisation’s most complained about article, with more than 17,500 complaints.

The number also surpassed the total number of complaints the media regulator received in 2021, which was 14,355.

“We will follow our usual processes to examine the complaints we have received. This will take longer than usual because of the volume of complaints,” an Ipso spokesperson said.

The number of complaints are still subject to change. It comes as dozens of MPs from both sides of the commons are demanding Mr Clarkson apologise to Meghan Markle for his use of "misogynistic language".

The article, which attracted criticism from high-profile figures and his own daughter, was removed from The Sun’s website on Monday afternoon at Mr Clarkson’s request.

In a letter to The Sun's editor, Victoria Newton, signed by over 60 MPs, former Conservative minister Caroline Nokes asked for action to be taken against Mr Clarkson.

"We are horrified at the recent article by Jeremy Clarkson in your publication. As parliamentarians of every persuasion, we condemn in the strongest terms the violent misogynistic language against the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle," the letter said.

"This sort of language has no place in our country, and it is unacceptable that it was allowed to be published in a mainstream newspaper."

“Hateful articles like the one written by Mr Clarkson do not exist in a vacuum, and directly contribute to this unacceptable climate of hatred and violence.”

The letter continued: “We are deeply concerned about the role modelling being promoted to young men and boys, that they can verbally attack women without a consequence or that it is OK to use violent language to address a woman that you might disagree with.

“You will no doubt know how violence against women and girls has surged across Britain in recent years. We must do better. Enough is enough. We cannot allow this type of behaviour to go unchecked any longer.

“We welcome The Sun’s retraction of the article, we now demand action is taken against Mr Clarkson and an unreserved apology is issued to Ms Markle immediately.

“We further demand definitive action is taken to ensure no article like this is ever published again.”

The Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) has received more than 12,000 complaints over the article. This is almost equal to the total number of complaints the media regulator received in 2021 – which was 14,355.

The presenter has said he was “horrified to have caused so much hurt” following the backlash and that he would “be more careful in future”.

In the piece, published in The Sun on Friday, the former Top Gear presenter wrote he had dreamed of Meghan being paraded through British towns and publicly shamed, adding that “everyone who’s my age thinks the same way”.

The article follows the release of Harry and Meghan’s Netflix series, in which they made allegations of mistreatment by the royal family. Credit: Netflix

”Writing on Twitter on Monday, Mr Clarkson wrote: “Oh dear. I’ve rather put my foot in it.

“In a column I wrote about Meghan, I made a clumsy reference to a scene in Game of Thrones and this has gone down badly with a great many people.

“I’m horrified to have caused so much hurt and I shall be more careful in future.”

The story no longer appears on the Sun's website, following days of backlash.

A statement appearing in place of original links to the article said: “In light of Jeremy Clarkson’s tweet he has asked us to take last week’s column down.”

The former Top Gear host wrote he "hated" the duchess "on a cellular level" in the article.

Backlash over the article has come from high-profile figures including Nicola Sturgeon, Carol Vorderman and London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

In the piece, Mr Clarkson said he dreamed Meghan being forced "to parade naked through the streets of every town in Britain while the crowds chant 'Shame!' and throw lumps of excrement at her," adding, "everyone who’s my age thinks the same way."

It follows the recent broadcast of Harry and Meghan’s explosive six-part Netflix documentary, in which the couple made allegations of mistreatment by the royal family.