FORMER TV presenter Stephen Jardine has been condemned for describing a Scottish town as “barely sanitary”.
Jardine, who recently moved into the world of public relations, made his jibe at Greenock in a piece for a national newspaper.
His subject was the travellers facing eviction from Dale Farm, Essex, but he ended the article with a parting shot at the Inverclyde town.
Jardine, who presented STV’s The Hour with Michelle McManus, wrote: “People who want to live in barely sanitary conditions harking back generations can always move to Greenock”.
His sideswipe at the Clyde community that gave the world James Watt has infuriated Provost Michael McCormick.
He said: “If Mr Jardine wants a tour of Greenock all he has to do is pick up the phone.
“I will take him on a tour of the area to let him meet some of the people who make this area so special.”
He added: “I find it tiresome having to respond to people who have a go at Inverclyde – we are fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country.
“We have our problems, like everyone else, but we are working hard to transform the area.”
Mr McCormick said schemes included the regeneration of the waterfront and building “state-of-the-art schools for our children”.
“Inverclyde has been voted one of the preferred destinations by cruise ships and cruise liners,” he said.
“I am sure that over 500,000 people who visited the area for the Tall Ships would disagree with Stephen Jardine’s comments.”
But Jardine, who now runs a food and drink PR company, stood by his controversial comments.
He said: “I visited Greenock two weeks ago on my way to Bute. I think most people would accept that there is a lot to be done to improve the town.
“I stand by my comments, but if you read the column you will see the tone is a light-hearted one.”
He added: “I am not speaking from a position of ignorance.
“I spent some time in the High Street when I visited a few weeks ago.”
And he said that he would be happy to come to the town to meet the Provost and be “shown the sights”.
Greenock, population 45,000, is famous for shipbuilding and engineers from the town helped build the QE2.
The creator of the steam engine, James Watt, hailed from Greenock and is remembered in the name of the local college, library, and a pub.
Actor Richard Wilson was also born in Greenock.