Paxman attacked over war ‘cranks’

Jeremy Paxman has been criticised by anti-war campaigners after he branded conscientious objectors in the First World War “cranks”.

The Newsnight presenter made the remarks on Monday night’s episode of his BBC One documentary series Britain’s Great War.

It included a section filmed inside a prison cell where 16 conscientious objectors, many of whom had strong religious beliefs, were held.

Jeremy told viewers: “To be honest, the extreme conscientious objectors have always struck me as cranks.”

A spokesman for campaign group the Peace Pledge Union (PPU) described the remarks as “unhelpful and silly”.

He said: “I knew some of these people and they were not cranks at all.

“One of the main issues they felt strongly about was the coercive power of the state to force people to kill, and if that is cranky I wish there were more of them. It seems to me a very laudable thing to do.”