09/05/2017 08:36 BST | Updated 09/05/2017 09:31 BST

Kelvin MacKenzie 'To Leave The Sun' After Controversial Ross Barkley Column

'He will not be asked to contribute to the paper again'.

Peter Macdiarmid via Getty Images
Kelvin MacKenzie's latest column will reportedly have been his last

Kelvin MacKenzie will leave The Sun newspaper following his suspension for comments comparing a footballer with Nigerian heritage to a gorilla, according to multiple reports. 

The former tabloid editor’s removal is part of a “clean up” by his boss Rupert Murdoch, the Financial Times said.

“Kelvin will not be employed by News [UK] for much longer,” a source involved in the leaving talks for MacKenzie told the paper

The FT added that Sun journalists had told it the move was being driven by Rebekah Brooks, recently re-hired by News UK after being cleared of phone hacking charges.

Reports of MacKenzie’s departure were consistent with the BBC’s, whose Media Editor Amol Rajan said: “Now we know he will not be asked to contribute to the paper again”.

PA Archive/PA Images
MacKenzie and Murdoch pose holding a copy of The Sun

A Sun spokesman refused to deny MacKenzie’s exit was being negotiated, but told HuffPost UK: “Mr MacKenzie remains suspended from the newspaper.”

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson, who reported MacKenzie’s controversial comment to the police, said today’s news of his departure was “fitting and deserved”.

MacKenzie was suspended after writing a derogatory column about Liverpool, specifically targeting Everton FC midfielder Ross Barkley. 

Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA via Getty Images
Ross Barkley was attacked on a night out

He weighed in on news Barkely, 23, had been punched in a nightclub, writing: 

“There is something about the lack of reflection in his eyes which makes me certain not only are the lights not on, there is definitely nobody at home.

“I get a similar feeling when seeing a gorilla at the zoo. The physique is magnificent but it’s the eyes that tell the story.”

The Sun quickly stepped in, denying that it had been aware that Barkely’s grandfather was Nigerian.

A statement released by the newspaper read: 

“The views expressed by Kelvin Mackenzie about the people of Liverpool were wrong, unfunny and are not the view of the paper.

“The Sun apologises for the offence caused.”

Following the uproar, Everton banned Sun journalists from its Goodison Park stadium and training ground Finch Farm.

Liverpool FC already has a similar policy in place, following MacKenzie’s editorship of The Sun after the Hillsborough tragedy.