Mail columnist Letts apologises for mocking Marr's disability

image copyrightJEFF OVERS
image captionAndrew Marr presents a Sunday morning political programme on BBC One

Political sketch writer Quentin Letts has apologised for an article he wrote mocking the disability of broadcaster Andrew Marr.

In a Daily Mail review of the new Robert Peston show on ITV, Letts described Marr as "Captain-Hop-Along, growling away on BBC One, throwing his arm about like a tipsy conductor".

Marr had a stroke in January 2013.

Letts tweeted his apology after an article from media commentator Roy Greenslade appeared in the Guardian.

Greenslade said in his article, called It isn't Funny or Smart for Quentin Letts to Poke Fun at Andrew Marr: "I don't want to come off all namby-pamby.

"I understand that no-one should be beyond criticism and that Letts was exercising his right to press freedom.

"But really Quentin, that was a graceless remark."

He then called for Letts to apologise.

Letts admitted his comments about "the admirable Marr" were "horrid". His tweet of apology was met with comments below it, calling him "utterly disgraceful" and "appalling".

image captionQuentin Letts describes himself on Twitter as a "journo, author and deputy church warden"
image copyrightThe Quentin Letts Twitter
image captionQuentin Letts apologises for his Daily Mail article which mocked Andrew Marr's disability

The Daily Mail article appeared in both the print copy of the newspaper and its online version.

Marr's wife, journalist Jackie Ashley, tweeted about Letts' article, criticising the message it sent out to disabled people.

image copyrightJackie Ashley Twitter
image captionJackie Ashley, Andrew Marr's wife, criticises Quentin

The Stroke Association said: "A stroke is not a joke. Stroke survivors deserve our respect and support, and Andrew Marr deserves an apology", before encouraging people make complaints to the Independent Press Standards Organisation.

In a statement to the BBC, the Independent Press Standards Organisation said: "we have received a total of 11 complaints about the article.

"All of the complaints are under Clause 12 (Discrimination), with one or two also citing Clause 1 (Accuracy) or Clause 4 (Intrusion into grief or shock).

"It is IPSO policy not to comment on the identity of individual complainants, so I am unable to confirm the names of anyone who has contacted us on this article."

Robert Peston's new ITV Sunday politics talk show had received lukewarm reviews following its debut this weekend.

Letts reviewed Peston's programme as "breathless and batty - and bound to be a hit".

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