John Cleese says his comments on London were ‘culturalist’, not racist

Comedian John Cleese has defended his comments about London, saying they were "culturalist" rather than racist.

The former Monty Python star, 79, was criticised for saying the capital is "not really an English city any more".

He was accused of racism online while mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the comments made him sound like his character from classic sitcom Fawlty Towers.

Cleese, who moved to the island of Nevis in the Caribbean in November last year, has tweeted again, this time arguing his comments were not racist.

He said: "It might interest those people who seem to think my remarks about London are racist as opposed to culturalist, to consider that what I like about spending time in Nevis.

"Nevis has excellent race relations, a very well educated population, no sign of political correctness......

" sign of Rupert Murdoch, conscientious lawyers, a relaxed and humorous life style, a deep love of cricket, and a complete lack of knife crime And, of course, wonderful weather."

In another dig at London, Cleese added: "And the icing on the cake is that Nevis is not the world centre for Russian dirty money laundering."

Cleese, who rose to fame in the 1970s as a co-founder of the surrealist comedy group Monty Python, alongside Graham Chapman, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Sir Michael Palin, later added to his comments.

He said it is "legitimate" to prefer one culture to another.

"For example, I prefer cultures that do not tolerate female genital mutilation. Will this will be considered racist by all those who hover, eagerly hoping that someone will offend them – on someone else's behalf, naturally", Cleese said.

Cleese has aimed similar accusations at London before.

Eight years ago he said the comedy felt like a foreign city and English culture was fading.

Explaining his decision to emigrate last year, he told the BBC he was "so disappointed with so much about this country".