UPDATE 18/09 15:15: Philip Taylor has released a statement regarding his comments (see below)

A Tory councillor has sparked controversy after suggesting that "silly old fart" David Attenborough should commit suicide after the broadcaster said overpopulation was reaching disastrous levels.

Attenborough was discussing the sending of food aid to Africa, a practice he described as "barmy".

He told the Daily Telegraph: "What are all these famines in Ethiopia, what are they about?

david attenborough

Attenborough is often described as a "national treasure"

"They're about too many people for too little land. That's what it's about. And we are blinding ourselves."

Soon after Ealing Councillor, Phil Taylor, made his views on the comments known on Twitter.

Phil Taylor
I do wish this silly old fart would take a one-way trip to Switzerland. Practice what you preach.

Switzerland is well known as a destination for those wishing to commit assisted suicide at the Dignitas clinic.


It is not known if anyone has ever referred to Mr Taylor as a "national treasure"

Taylor was immediately deluged with tweets calling his comments "disgraceful", "horrible" and "unnecessary".

Jane Salisbury
What a horrible thing to say. Unnecessary.

Julian Bell
You can agree or disagree with Sir David Attenborough but your comments are shocking & disgraceful! Apologise or resign!

Chris Coulson
.@philjvtaylor Whether you agree with his comments or not, surely you're intelligent enough to realize that this response is disgraceful?

Writing on his blog, Taylor said: "Today I have created a bit of a storm with a comment I made on Twitter about David Attenborough. It was an off the cuff, ironic comment and I didn’t set out to make anyone miserable.

"If David Attenborough is unhappy I am sorry. I don’t suppose he expects to comment on such contentious topics as population control and not get a strong response.

"The background to this is that David Attenborough has for many years been a patron of the Optimum Population Trust which now calls itself Population Matters. My tweet reflected my frustration with Attenborough repeatedly using his “national treasure” status to promote a set of views that see people as being a problem. His prescriptions seem always to apply to other people.

"My view of the world is that we have to work out how to make sure that the 9 billion people who will populate the world by 2050 all have a good life. They all have hopes and dreams and don’t need to be told what to do by Attenborough and his organisation.

"I won’t be discussing this incident any more."

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