A regional daily which backed David Cameron ahead of the General Election has accused him of “arrogance” over disparaging remarks he made about people on its patch.
The remarks were made off-camera while discussing rival devolution bids from within the county with an unnamed man, but were picked up from Mr Cameron’s microphone by the BBC.
He was in Leeds today making a speech on reform of public services.
Mr Cameron said: “We just thought people in Yorkshire hated everyone else, we didn’t realise they hated each other so much.”
In response, the Post published an editorial on its website which described the comments as “totally unbecoming” of a statesman and Eton-educated Prime Minister.
It said: “Rather than making arrogant assumptions about political leaders who are striving to do their best for their communities, it might have been more prudent of the Prime Minister to explore whether the Government can do anything to overcome these local differences – the priority, after all, is improving productivity so this county can become an even more significant economic powerhouse in the years to come.
“By drawing reference to a rather stereotypical and outdated view of Yorkshire, Mr Cameron’s gaffe totally overshadowed one of the most profound speeches of his second term to date when spoke in stark terms about the threat that Labour posed to the country’s economic security, and how the Tories want to put prison reform at the heart of a ‘smarter state’ agenda in which the public sector will be challenged to look at more effective ways to deliver existing services.
“The Prime Minister only has himself to blame for this message becoming lost in translation.”
Mr Cameron later visited Headingley Stadium, in Leeds, where the England cricket team are playing Australia in a One Day International.
In an interview with BBC Test Match Special, the Prime Minister said he had been “joking” when making the comments but that he expected to be “getting a bit of gyp” for it.
Before May’s election, the newspaper took the unusual step of coming out in support of a second term of the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition.
Six rival Yorkshire devolution deals have been submitted to the Government for further consideration and the Post said there had been “dismay” at the potential consequences of North Yorkshire being split in two.